Originally I am from Russia but I received my Associate of nursing degree in USA. After graduation from Denver School of Nursing, Colorado I had been working as a registered nurse (RN) for almost one year.
I really liked to live and work in USA. But unfortunately I was urged to move from USA due to the fact that I did not have bachelor of Nursing and with ASN I could not get my US work visa. It is funny to see all these ads after that claiming that USA needs nurses. May be it does but it is very difficult for foreign nationality to stay in USA.
So I have less than 6 months to find a good alternative for my US nursing job. Canada was the first on my mind.
There is a flood of information on Internet but it takes forever to read through all these governmental websites trying to decide what province of Canada I am suitable best and I did not really care what part of Canada to go. All Canadian provinces have their own requirements for licensing of foreign nurses. Now I know that they are pretty much similar but at that time I did not know anything about nursing requirements in Canada. I choose Nova Scotia (Atlantic province of Canada) because I always wanted to live near the ocean.
I applied as a RN to the College of Registered Nurses of Nova Scotia to find out that my Associate of nursing degree from US is not enough to be registered as RN here in Canada. I was suggested to come to Halifax, Canada for assessment. For me it was simply impossible.
First I needed a Canadian visa and besides that I would not be able to return to USA (where I could officially stayed only for short 5 months) and I am not saying that it is a LOT of money to travel to Canada, staying in the hotel plus I still could not be sure how this assessment would go.
Close to a nervous breakdown I found a local consulting and recruitment agency for foreign-trained nurses in Halifax, Nova Scotia. I was suggested do apply as LPN to the College of Licensed Practical nurses of Nova Scotia. Thankfully my application was approved. I was offered a job by this recruitment agency (everything was FREE) and they found me a place to live in the apartment complex located on the territory of my future work. So it was really convenient. I did not need to buy a car right away everything was close.
So to summarize my experience: I started looking for the ways to go to Canada in October 2009. My RN application was refused in November. In December I applied as LPN and by April 2010 I was able to come to Canada. By the way my family came later.
I was just blown away by Canadian Hospitality. I was met at the airport by personal of the agency . They also helped me a lot during my first week in Canada plus found me place to live.
Some more interesting facts from my Canadian experience:
1/ It happened that I came already pregnant to Canada. To my big surprise I was eligible to have one year maternity leave after full time of work during my first 8 months in Canada.
2/ Being an American graduate I even was not asked to go through the Canadian Practical Nurse Registration Exam (CPNRE).
3/ I applied for permanent residency after one year of staying in Canada through Nova Scotia Nominee program though I am still waiting for it. Hope to receive it soon.
So it will be soon almost 2 years in Canada. It seems to me that People at work are more relaxed compare to US.
But I finally got use to this "Canadian slowness ". I love Canada:redbeathe and I think I found my new home.