Quebec is on track to recruit 1,000 nurses from overseas

The first nurses from the program will enter the health-care network later this year.

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Launched in February 2022, Quebec’s attempt to recruit 1,000 nurses from overseas is progressing. If everything goes according to plan, the Health Ministry will achieve the goal after launching the fourth phase of the campaign this fall.

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According to the most recent data from the ministry, hundreds of candidates are arriving from Tunisia, Cameroon, Morocco, Algeria, Lebanon and Haiti, to name just some of the Francophonie nations being targeted in the operation.

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It will, however, take some time before the impact of the program is felt in the health network.

After being recruited in their home countries and getting hired by a CISSS or CIUSSS, candidates must undergo a French test and be evaluated by Quebec’s order of nurses to ensure they have the required skill levels. The order then issues a personalized training prescription for each candidate to accelerate their training once in Quebec.

When they arrive in the province, candidates must undergo training at an educational institution to familiarize themselves with the practices in Quebec’s health network. This process takes about a year. Newcomers must then obtain their right to practice by passing the order of nurses’ exam.

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The first nurses recruited in this program will start working in the health-care network in late 2023.

According to the latest data obtained from the Health Ministry, the first phase of the program welcomed 205 people between September and November 2022. Those who are professionals are expected to be practicing in late fall.

They will be followed by the candidates from the second phase — 240 people welcome between January and April. Another 202 recruits are expected from the third phase in May and June. The final phase will recruit an estimated 377 people, who would start training in late 2023.

Two students taking part in the program at Cégep de Valleyfield confirmed to Presse Canadienne that word of the difficulties in Quebec’s health-care network and the tension between workers and management had made it all the way to Cameroon. These stories had not scared them off.

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“That didn’t worry me. I already have a family here,” said Emelda Tabot. “I have a cousin who works as a nurse and she told me how it goes. She told me: ‘If I can do it, so can you.’”

Tabot, who specializes in eldercare and is working part time at a CHSLD while studying, says her cousin encouraged her to come to Quebec. “She was waiting for me at the airport.”

For Étienne Ndzana, who worked in the operating room of a Yaoundé hospital, the long hours are nothing new.

“You try to read what’s going on elsewhere. We had information from social networks. We knew the hours were like that,” he said. “In Cameroon, we also work long hours.”

Presse Canadienne’s health content obtains financing thanks to a partnership with the Canadian Medical Association. Presse Canadienne is solely responsible for editorial choices.

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