First of all, Fergus, you are right about the floating here. However, it is disguised as "cross training", so that you can still have to float to other units (probably similar) than your home one.
I think that jobs for advanced practice nurses in Canada are few and far between these days. I have no administrative experience and taught years ago, so these kinds of positions are out for me. There used to be lots of hospital based psych Clinical Nurse Specialist positions, but again, with all the cutbacks-there aren't many left. They were considered luxuries. As I see the trend now, it is to hire one Nurse Manager/Clinical Nurse Specialist, get rid of one position and have someone do the work of two. There is a personality difference between a clinical person and an administrator. And I've seen this two for one scheme fail miserably for that reason.
Me? I'm strictly a clinical person. My MSN program was clinically based vs. admin. I couldn't handle management. Too strong a need to have people like me!
When I say a nurse is a nurse is a nurse, I guess I am talking about salary AND available opportunities. Despite my MSN, most of what I have been offered in the past few years are staff nurse positions with staff nurse salaries. There have been NO monetary rewards offered for the degree or the 25+ years of experience, much of which is at the advanced practice level. If I am lucky, I am offered what a staff nurse at the top level gets...and any of the time worked in a position other than a staff RN is deducted from the total years I have worked, when calculating pay scale.
I think a university degree (BSN) is valuable if you want to be a unit manager or a staff nurse in ICU or ER, for example. Many ads here say, "BSN preferred" but will take someone without one. So that means is 3 year grad is often interchangeable with someone with a degree. (I'm not saying this to fuel the degree vs. non-degree debate.) Sometimes even an RPN (like LPN) is hired into an RN position, especially if s/he is good and has lots of experience.
I am in independent practice here. I might as well be a martian. (sigh) Nurses in independent practice in the States are much more widely recognized, utilized, and valued. I believe we are way behind here.
That being said, I am looking into becoming a Nurse Practitioner a year from now.
If you're in the US and are thinking about becoming an NP down there first, make sure that it will be recognized when you get here. Otherwise, wait until you get here to enroll in a program.
One reason our health care system is good because it provides equal access to everyone. No one need go without it. That being said, there are major flaws in our system, just like there are major flaws down there. They're just different...but in some ways both based on money or lack thereof.
The problem is that because here it is paid for by our taxes, people perceive it as "free" and there is lots of abuse. (Like the patient who goes to three MDs in one DAY "free", with a sore throat, seeking a third one who will finally prescribe the antibiotic refused by the first two!)
I hope I haven't offended my fellow Canadian nurses. I just wish I had known prior to moving here what the nursing situation was like. It was not ideal down south, but at the time, it was all I knew. The more input you have, the better a decision you can make.
<By the way, I just thought of something else. Certain medical problems or history may cause an immigration delay. They want to be very sure that the new immigrant is not going to be a "burden on the health care system".>