Prospective international nursing student in Canada - page 2

by vimge4 12,837 Views | 42 Comments

Hello everone, I'm brand new here & would greatly appreciate any input. I apologize if this is a repeat topic, I have searched a lot before posting and there are a number of topics about nurses looking for work in the US or... Read More


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    Thank you so much for all the replies!

    @ loriangel14: thanks for all the input and welcoming words!

    @ CarribRN: that makes so much more sense and is exactly what I needed to hear! I am very excited and looking foward for life in toronto and Canada in general. I think it will be a great experience also for my kids to live abroad. I really hope we could stay in Canada after graduation, but I dont want to expect that because it might not happen and if we do have to come back, I just wanted to be sure I would still be able to practice nursing here in the US. Thanks again and I will now be joining other forums about good neighborhoods to settle, school districts, etc.
    CarribRN likes this.
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    An international student graduating from a Canadian college/university gets to apply for a work permit after graduation and while working on that permit to apply for permanent residency. You don't have to find an employer to sponsor you.

    Part of what Canadian colleges/universities are selling for the high international tuition is a chance to work and/or immigrate (the same as colleges/universities in any other desirable country). The international student services at a Canadian school will have a lot of experience helping the many international students through the process.

    I'm doing the same thing as you, but in Calgary. The job market for nurses is much better in Canada than the US right now, though it is tighter in some places than others. Plan to take your CRNE and NCLEX exams at around the same time, even though they are quite different, you will still be in test taking mode.

    Apply for an off-campus work permit as soon as you are eligible (on campus work pays less and is harder to come by in the Canada than the US). Your first off-campus work permit will come with the stipulation that can't work in health care services. Then you have to reapply to get that stipulation removed so as to have the valuable opportunity to get some related work experience while in school.

    There are tons of Canadians living and working in the US so take it with a big grain of salt if anyone gives you a hard time.
    vimge4 likes this.
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    @ Knina

    Thanks for all the info!! Are u already in Calgary? If so, hope you're liking it. It's also good to hear about career prospects there, I have heard a lot of pessimist talk on how hard it is to get a job as a nurse grad in Canada, due to province budgets, etc. Well, I guess some things you can just really know once you experience first hand. Thanks again!!
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    Not to disillusion you, but I would stay clear of Ontario. Of all the Provinces, Ontario is one of the worst right now for job prospects. Even experienced nurses are finding it hard to change or get employment. It's all casual, temp, RPN. Many of my friends who graduated within the last 2 years there are underemployed. Three of us left Ontario to work elsewhere last year. As an iEN, you will most definitely face even more hurdles. Too few jobs there and too many applicants at the moment.
    Fiona59 likes this.
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    Hi there.. I'm on the same boat as you. I'm also studying nursing on a student visa in toronto ontario. After graduation, you do get to apply for a work permit which is valid for the number of yrs you studied.. it's called a post-gradiate work permit. Then I believe that that permit will allow CNO to register you given that you pass the exam. Gosh, this was all posted april of 2011. I hope you'd still reply though. Cheers!
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    Greetings. You know, it never occurred to me that there might be a problem registering with the provincial licensing board to take the exam. Good question. I thought that graduating from a Canadian nursing program got you access to the exam. We should check in our provinces to make sure.

    I think that as long as your program is at least two years, you actually get a three year work permit. Consider getting an off-campus work permit now to let you work in health care while in school. I switched from an accelerated program to a decelerated program because I ran out of money faster than I expected, but I've since worked in both a hospital and a community clinic and the experience and contacts have been invaluable. I won't finish until Dec 2012.

    If you do apply for an off campus work permit, make sure to tell them that you are a health care student and need a permit without conditions because you need to work in health care.

    Also make sure to file your taxes even if you haven't made any money because you can bank your tuition costs and can deduct them from your taxes in later years. I'm paying the rest of my painfully high international tuition with the tax return I'm getting based on the tuition deduction.

    How has your experience been so far?
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    Thanks for the reply knina. Experience has been good so far. I'm taking a 2-year PN program here in Ontario but I'm still on my 1st month so I can't apply for an off-campus work permit till July. I have just been lucky to be granted a scholarship by someone in my family. I never thought of filing for taxes despite not working yet so thank you for that advice.

    To tell you the truth, I'm already an RN in my country so I am currently waiting for CNO's initial assessment to sit a PN exam. I am studying PN because I'm interested to get the post-graduate work permit which I need to be able to work here in the future. It was explained to me that that work permit will allow me to work for 2-3 years after graduation.

    I'm aware I could take the exam but afterwards, I'm not sure if the post-graduation work permit issued to me will be sufficient to register at CNO because one of the requirements is to show a proof that I am legally allowed to work here as a nurse.

    Is that the same case in Alberta? Thank you!
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    I'm confused -- is PN practical nurse or practioner nurse?

    In Alberta RPNs are registered psychiatric nurses and LPNs are licensed practical nurses. There aren't very many jobs for nurse practitioners here -- Ontario looks much more progressive in terms of nursing scope of practice.

    My understanding is that the post grad work permit is proof of legally being able to work here. But you don't have it yet so it will be interesting to see what the initial assessment says. Please let me know. Maybe the off campus work permit as well? I wonder if you could take the RN exam when you get that.

    Again, make sure you apply for an off campus work permit without conditions, because the first one I got said I couldn't work in health care services! I had to apply and pay again and it took months more.

    Nursing programs are clueless about the realities of the job market so make sure to network beyond school as well as trying to use your clinicals to make connections and look for jobs. You are in better shape than most because you have experience! I don't know where you are from and what you are used to, but in Canada there is the possibility of these remote jobs, but here remote really means remote.

    In Alberta there are "undergraduate nurse" jobs, which students can get part way through their program and that is what I'm doing right now. I don't know what that role is called in Ontario.
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    Ontario is the only province that uses the term RPN for LPNs. Reg. Psych Nurses only exist in the western provinces.
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    PN is Practical Nurse here. How do I apply for one without conditions? Will there be an option wherein I can state I'd like to work in a healthcare setting? According to CNO, I can sit the exam for PN because of my RN degree back home..but I can only start working or be fully registered once I get a work permit. That's why I'm wondering if a post-graduate work permit would be sufficient for them to register me because that's the kind of permit I'll be getting after graduation.

    I am hoping I could work as a Personal support worker (PSW) when I get my off-campus work permit. I think it's another term for a nurse aide. I'm from the Philippines by the way. Thanks for the input. very helpful.


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