Domagoj Tonžetić works as a nurse in the intensive care unit of a hospital in From Croatia capital, Zagreb.
Over two years ago, he began the application process to work as a nurse in Ontario, looking for new opportunities.
“In Canada, I see much broader career growth than I see here,” he told Global News.
But he recently put his Canadian dream on hold, shifting his focus to the United States. He said he would soon start working as a nurse in Texas.
The process of working in Ontario is “too complicated” and “unnavigable,” he said.
Tonžetić has struggled to find a role as a foreign-trained nurse in Ontario as the province’s healthcare system is under strain. Emergency rooms were forced to close and intensive care units have reached capacity over the past few days.
The current crisis, caused by a number of factors, including the COVID-19 pandemic, has been compounded by nursing shortages.
In a statement to Global News, the Ontario Nurses Association (ONA) said it was “outraged at the severe nursing and healthcare staff shortages that are causing hospitals.”
Shortages are being reported in emergency departments, ICUs, medical units, surgery, etc., the organization said.
In an interview with the media on Tuesday, Ontario Health Minister Sylvia Jones said nurses trained outside of Ontario are an important part of the solution to a struggling healthcare system. problems in the province.
The government will introduce “additional measures” to strengthen capacity, she said, specifically addressing the backlog of internationally trained health workers awaiting certification.
“We know that there is a backlog of individuals waiting for those certificates,” she said. “As a province, how can we help ensure that any upgrades that are needed or that any review occur can happen quickly?”
A 2020 report from Ontario’s equity commissioner found that 14,633 internationally trained nurses are actively pursuing licensure through the Ontario College of Nurses. That same year, just over 2,000 international applicants became fully registered members.
Jones did not specify how long it would take for overseas-trained nurses to work in hospitals in Ontario.
“Honestly, finding, evaluating, and quickly going through overseas trained professionals to see if they qualify… (is) something that I think is an important part of it. but it’s not the whole puzzle,” she said.
In Croatia, Tonžetić said he found the system to register as a nurse in Canada was so complicated that it didn’t work.
He cites requirements for identification documents and the need to have information notarized from “several sources” as two examples of bureaucratic hurdles he has managed to overcome.
“I was really sad to see them not giving us a chance to show off our skills and show… our persistence to work abroad and try our luck somewhere else.”
The need for more people to move up the nursing ranks in Ontario was made clear in a study released Wednesday by the Association of Registered Practical Nurses of Ontario (WeRPN).
Ontario hospitals face significant staffing shortages
The survey found that 68% of nurses say they don’t have enough time or resources to properly care for patients.
66% said they had to take on more patients with a higher patient-to-nurse ratio.
The survey was conducted in May 2022 and is called “State of Nursing in Ontario: A 2022 Review”. More than 760 RPNs across the province were polled. It was a follow-up study from December 2020 that aimed to measure conditions of the provincial health care system through the perspective of nurses.
It also found that 86% of nurses surveyed said they were asked to work overtime or overtime to cover staffing shortages.
Speaking at a news conference on Wednesday, Ontario Premier Doug Ford said the province needed more nurses but did not detail any new plans.
“We need more nurses – the more the better,” said Ford.
A spokesperson for the University of Toronto Health Network recently told Global News that the hospital is recruiting to fill 371 vacancies for registered nurses – about 10 per cent of the 4,000 who commend the thing. their caregivers.
Meanwhile, Tonžetić was preparing to accept an offer to work as a nurse in Texas.
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