The first year my degree was assessed by NNAS (National Nursing Assessment Service), who then forwarded a report to CARNA. It took a whole year to get to through NNAS. CARNA then did their own assessment and determined I needed to take three courses in order to get my knowledge up to scratch. Unfortunately, these courses are only available during specific times. So far, I have completed one out of three of these courses, and the second begins in January, the third in May. I will have completed these courses by September, after which point I then have to take a registration exam (additional to the exams I am taking as part of the courses).
But, this is the reality of transferring a healthcare degree. I’m under no illusions. Stories from Filipino healthcare assistants in New Zealand are much the same; many of them were fully registered nurses in the Philippines before coming to New Zealand, and await lucrative places on transfer programs to become New Zealand Registered Nurses. The difficulty of transferring a healthcare degree is not unique to Canada. The irony is that many people take nursing because they have been told it’s ‘so transferable’. Supposedly you can go anywhere in the world with it. From my experience, this is a lie. It’s true that nurses are highly sought after, but, if you plan to travel there are certainly easier ways. Not to mention less expensive ways, too. So far it’s cost us approximately $4000 CAD, this doesn’t include the exam fee I will inevitably end up paying, or the registration fee either.
So why go through all of this? Because, I meant what I said all those years ago on my application to be accepted into nursing. I want to help people. It might sound grandiose and a little cliche, but it’s true. It is a rare privilege to walk into a stranger’s life, and in one short conversation have developed a bond that allows you to look into their eyes and assure them that you will do everything in your power to make things better for them; whether better means something as simple as getting a blanket from the warming cabinet, or as complex as being part of a team that will save their life.
Fortunately for me, the reality is also that I have a loving, supportive husband, who makes enough that I am able to fully devote myself to studying, and of course to my other true passion; writing.