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New Brunswick to reduce financial barriers in effort to attract more international nurses

The province of New Brunswick is trying to attract more internationally-educated nurses with a new initiative, and the timing couldn’t be better for one health-care professional who moved from Nigeria to Moncton a year ago.

Elizabeth Princewill-Sanni is a patient care assistant in the oncology department at the Moncton Hospital.

She was present for a funding announcement at the hospital on Friday.

“I feel like I will be one of the first people to benefit from this because I start my bridging on Monday. So, I'm excited,” said Princewill-Sanni.

Princewill-Sanni is currently working toward becoming a registered nurse, and the province is trying to make that a bit easier for her.

New Brunswick Health Minister Bruce Fitch announced a new five-year initiative that will lessen the financial burden on internationally-educated nurses trying to enter the province's health-care system.

“Our government will cover the various costs associated with being eligible to work in the province for up to 300 nurses each year,” said Fitch.

The province will provide financial support on a case-by-case basis and costs that may be covered include the following:

  • pre-arrival assessments (including national nursing assessment services and the initial application to the Nurses Association of New Brunswick)
  • competency assessments
  • bridging program tuition
  • first-time Nurses Association of New Brunswick registration

Any permanent resident who obtained their nursing education outside of the country may also be eligible for funding.

Princewill-Sanni arrived from Lagos about a year ago with her husband and two children.

She sat next to Clarisse Oulai, another internationally-educated nurse, who arrived from France two years ago.

She likes the fact that the provincial government has put into consideration what it will cost us and how it affects international nurses.

“It's something that every international nurse looks forward to because it can be expensive getting registered and getting into a system that you're not used to,” said Princewill-Sanni. “Today is a game-changer for me and I'm sure that I'm speaking for the rest of my counterparts.”

The Horizon Health Network recruited 93 internationally-educated nurses last year, but interim president and CEO Margaret Melanson said more are needed.

“I would say registered nurses and licensed practical nurses are our greatest need because they are the foundation of our health-care system in terms of sustainability at this time,” said Melanson.

The provincial government will provide support on a case-by-case basis and candidates must meet a certain amount of requirements to be eligible.

The province's initiative complements changes made by the Nurses Association of New Brunswick that reduced the registration process for nurses from 14 countries.

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