Province streamlining licensing approvals to bring more than 200 Ukrainian doctors and nurses into the NS healthcare system

More than 230 newly arrived Ukrainian nationals with healthcare backgrounds are at various stages of getting the approvals needed to join Nova Scotia’s healthcare system.

The Province, Nova Scotia Health and regulatory colleges have been working together to streamline licensing and support Ukrainian healthcare professionals.

“We have internationally educated and trained healthcare professionals who want to put their skills to use helping others. They have chosen to make Nova Scotia their new home, and we want to help them find meaningful employment in our health system,” said Michelle Thompson, Minister of Health and Wellness. “We recognize the licensing process can take a lot of time, and we are working with Nova Scotia Health and the regulatory colleges to find ways to streamline the process and reduce barriers for these health professionals.”

Work by healthcare partners to support Ukrainian nationals includes:

All healthcare professionals:
— in June, a website was launched to collect information about the work experience and qualifications of Ukrainians who were already in the province and others interested in coming
— Nova Scotia Health has hired three community navigators, and will soon hire more, to serve as liaisons between the Ukrainian community and healthcare system, answering questions, helping with translation, and supporting candidates throughout their journey to employment
— everyone who submits an application on the website receives a weekly newsletter to keep them updated on Nova Scotia Health’s employment efforts and to share information, stories, and resources to support their transition
— the Nova Scotia Health Learning Institute for Healthcare Providers offers an eight-week online orientation to the Canadian system.

— working closely with Nova Scotia Health and the government, the College of Physicians and Surgeons has developed a streamlined service to review the qualifications of international physicians, including those coming from Ukraine
— the college has implemented a new pathway that will help more physicians receive their licence in less time, with less administrative burden and with a shorter but more robust period of assessment and supervision
— through the Nova Scotia Practice Ready Assessment Program, the college works to identify eligible internationally trained family physicians
— the physician assistant and clinical assistant programs provide opportunities for internationally trained physicians whose training does not qualify them for independent practice.

— the Nova Scotia College of Nursing has made registration and licensing more efficient for internationally educated nurses
— the government recently announced $340,000 for the college to find ways to further streamline the process
— Nova Scotia Health is launching a pilot program in partnership with the college to provide internationally educated nurses with a streamlined process to access registered nurse bridging education programs.

The government recognizes that not all applicants will meet the qualifications to receive a licence to work in their chosen field to their scope of practice. In those cases, Nova Scotia Health will explore alternative roles that allows them to work, while they work toward licensure.

“Nova Scotia Health is implementing multiple strategies to enhance healthcare workforce retention and recruitment in Nova Scotia. This is what will set us up for success in the long term and enhance the retention and recruitment of qualified healthcareprofessionals in the province. We also have a unique opportunity in front of us to engage highly qualified professionals from Ukraine in Nova Scotia Health’s system and are working at a rapid pace with multiple partners including the Department of Health and Wellness and the Nova Scotia College of Nursing to ensure we can make this happen.”
     – Gail Tomblin Murphy, Vice-President, Research, Innovation and Discovery and Chief Nurse Executive, Nova Scotia Health

“We are introducing multiple streamlined pathways for nurses and other healthcare professionals. As an example, in partnership with the Nova Scotia College of Nursing, Nova Scotia Health is launching a pilot program in the fall which will provide internationally educated nurses with a streamlined process to access RN bridging education programs. This program will maintain the rigour of the current program for nurses, but in a more condensed time frame including ongoing supervision and mentorship.”
     – Cindy MacQuarrie, Senior Director, Interprofessional Practice and Learning, Nova Scotia Health

“A special program has been implemented in the province to support internationally educated and trained professionals to successfully integrate into Nova Scotia Health. We want to ensure internationally educated and trained professionals have access to the right type of training, supervision and mentorship supports. Our comprehensive program also includes supports for families of international professionals. We are working with academic institutions, community programs such as ISANS and other key partners.”
     – Tara Sampalli, Senior Scientific Director and Program Lead for Nova Scotia’s International Community of Healthcare Workers Engagement Program, Nova Scotia Health

“We have such a good opportunity with Nova Scotia Health, which wants to help people to find new opportunities and do it more quickly and easily. As a community navigator, I hope to contribute to making the healthcare system better for all Nova Scotians.”
     – Olena Kudenko, community navigator, Nova Scotia Health

“This provides me with a wonderful starting point on my journey to becoming a physician in Nova Scotia. Through my work at the Colchester East Hants Health Centre, I’ll have the opportunity to learn more about the Canadian healthcare system and feel fully supported in my journey towards becoming a licensed, practising physician in Nova Scotia.”
     – Dr. Alix Chamlat, health support aide, Colchester East Hants Health Centre

Quick Facts:
— these initiatives support the government’s Action for Health plan by accelerating and supporting the integration of qualified internationally educated and trained healthcare providers
— as of August 5, a total of 234 Ukrainian nationals have expressed interest and are in various stages of the licensing process; this includes 144 physicians, 14 registered nurses, 12 licensed practical nurses and 64 other health professionals
— of those who expressed interest, 43 are in Nova Scotia, 111 are elsewhere in Canada and 80 are outside Canada
— about 90 people have been referred to the colleges by Nova Scotia Health

Additional Resources:
Support for Ukraine – Nova Scotia Health:

Action for Health, the government’s strategic plan to improve healthcare in Nova Scotia:

Nova Scotia Practice Ready Assessment Program:

News release – Province Funds Internationally Educated Nurses Licensing Review:

News release – Nova Scotia Health’s collaboration with partners on internationally educated nurse applicants:

Source: Release

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