Philippine nurse migration to the Canadian prairies: challenges and opportunities
Baxter, Catherine Elizabeth
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Baxter, C. (2017) Philippine nurse migration to the Canadian prairies: challenges and opportunities, no. 320.
Internationally Educated Nurses (IENs) from the Philippines comprise the highest proportion of IENs working as regulated nurses in Canada, yet many report challenges integrating into the Canadian nursing workforce. The purpose of this mixed methods study was to explore and describe the integration of Registered Nurses (RNs) from the Philippines into the nursing workforce in the Canadian Prairies. A total of 182 IENs from the Philippines who had migrated to Manitoba, Saskatchewan or Alberta between 2008 and 2013 participated. Data were collected through an online survey comprised primarily of fixed response questions and through semi-structured interviews. The findings of the mixed analysis revealed that participants identified four main reasons for migrating to Canada and the Prairie Provinces. These included the presence of family in Canada, the demand for nurses in the Prairie Provinces, ease of migration, and the opportunity for a better life. Upon entry into Canada, IENs encountered challenges in both the pre-licensure and post-employment phases. Financial constraints, obtaining the necessary English language proficiency levels, and meeting the RN licensure requirements were the key pre-licensure challenges identified. Post-employment, IENs reported challenges with language and sociocultural communication, obtaining the required knowledge and skills, adjusting to different resources, conflicting values, and professional and collaborative practice. IENs from the Philippines were employed in the Prairie nursing workforce as RNs, Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs), and unregulated health workers (URHWs). IENs pursued LPN practice as a Stepping Stone, Parallel Process, or Alternate Career Path, to RN practice. The main reason cited for working as a URHW was the need to find a survival job while working through the nursing licensure process. Nursing workforce integration was a complex process and the cultural, financial, and social capital the IEN possessed, along with the availability of the host country programs and supports, were important resources to facilitate the process.