Nursing is a rewarding and challenging career that can make a difference in people’s lives. Nurses provide care, support, and education to patients and their families in various health care settings. If you are interested in becoming a nurse in Canada, there are some things you need to know before you make your decision.
The first step to becoming a nurse in Canada is to complete a nursing program that is recognized by the Canadian nursing regulatory body in the province or territory where you want to work. There are different types of nursing programs in Canada, depending on the level of education and the scope of practice you want to pursue.
- Registered Nurses (RNs) are nurses who have completed a four-year bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN) from an accredited university. RNs can provide comprehensive care to patients of all ages and with various health conditions. They can also specialize in a specific area of nursing, such as critical care, mental health, or public health, by completing additional education and training. RNs must pass the NCLEX-RN exam, which is a standardized test that assesses their knowledge, skills, and abilities to practice safely and effectively as a nurse. RNs must also register with the provincial or territorial nursing regulatory body and meet the requirements for licensure and practice.
- Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) are nurses who have completed a two-year diploma program in practical nursing from an accredited college. LPNs can provide basic care to patients with stable and predictable health conditions, under the supervision of an RN or a physician. LPNs can also perform some advanced skills, such as administering medication, wound care, and intravenous therapy, depending on their education and experience.
- LPNs must pass the CPNRE exam, which is a standardized test that assesses their knowledge, skills, and abilities to practice safely and effectively as a practical nurse. LPNs must also register with the provincial or territorial nursing regulatory body and meet the requirements for licensure and practice.
- Registered Psychiatric Nurses (RPNs) are nurses who have completed a three-year diploma program in psychiatric nursing from an accredited college. RPNs can provide specialized care to patients with mental health and addiction issues, in collaboration with other health care professionals.
- RPNs can also perform some general nursing skills, such as health assessment, medication administration, and health education. RPNs must pass the RPNCE exam, which is a standardized test that assesses their knowledge, skills, and abilities to practice safely and effectively as a psychiatric nurse. RPNs must also register with the provincial or territorial nursing regulatory body and meet the requirements for licensure and practice.
Another requirement to becoming a nurse in Canada is to demonstrate your language proficiency in either English or French, depending on the province or territory where you want to work. You must take a recognized language test, such as the IELTS, CELPIP, or TEF, and achieve the minimum scores required by the nursing regulatory body. Language proficiency is important for effective communication with patients, families, and other health care professionals, as well as for understanding and applying nursing standards, policies, and procedures.
If you are not a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident, you will need to obtain a valid visa to work as a nurse in Canada. There are different types of visas available, depending on your situation and eligibility. Some of the common visas for nurses are:
- Express Entry is a system that manages applications for skilled workers who want to immigrate to Canada. You must create an online profile and submit your information, such as your education, work experience, language skills, and other factors. You will then receive a score based on the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS), which ranks candidates based on their human capital and ability to contribute to the Canadian economy. You will also need to register with the Job Bank, which is a database that matches employers and job seekers. If you meet the minimum criteria and score high enough, you may receive an invitation to apply for permanent residency.
- Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) is a program that allows provinces and territories to nominate candidates who have the skills and experience to meet their specific labour market needs. You must apply to the province or territory where you want to work and meet their eligibility criteria, which may include having a valid job offer, a minimum level of education, work experience, language skills, and other factors. If you are nominated by the province or territory, you can then apply for permanent residency through the federal government.
- Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) is a program that allows employers to hire foreign workers to fill temporary labour and skill shortages. You must have a valid job offer from a Canadian employer who has obtained a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), which is a document that shows that there is a need for a foreign worker and that no Canadian worker is available to do the job. You must also meet the requirements for the specific occupation and visa category, such as the skill level, education, work experience, language skills, and other factors. If you are approved, you can then apply for a work permit, which allows you to work in Canada for a limited period of time.
Benefits of Being a Nurse in Canada
Becoming a nurse in Canada can offer you many benefits, such as:
- Job opportunities. Canada has a high demand for nurses, especially in rural and remote areas, where there are shortages of health care professionals. According to Statistics Canada, the employment rate for nurses was 97.7% in 2020, which is higher than the average for all occupations. The Canadian Nurses Association projects that there will be a need for 60,000 more nurses by 2022 to meet the health care needs of the aging population and the increasing prevalence of chronic diseases. As a nurse, you can find work in various health care settings, such as hospitals, clinics, community health centres, long-term care facilities, schools, and home care agencies. You can also choose to work full-time, part-time, casual, or contract, depending on your preference and availability.
- Salary and benefits. Canada offers competitive salaries and benefits for nurses, which vary depending on the province or territory, the type of nursing, the level of education and experience, and the employer. According to Statistics Canada, the average annual salary for nurses was $78,546 in 2020, which is higher than the average for all occupations. Nurses can also enjoy benefits such as health insurance, dental insurance, pension plan, vacation leave, sick leave, maternity leave, and professional development opportunities.
- Quality of life. Canada is known for its high quality of life, which includes factors such as health, education, safety, environment, and happiness. Canada ranks among the top countries in the world in terms of life expectancy, health care system, education system, public safety, environmental performance, and happiness index. As a nurse, you can contribute to the well-being of Canadians and enjoy the benefits of living in a diverse, multicultural, and democratic society.
Nursing is a noble and rewarding profession that can make a positive impact on people’s lives. If you are interested in becoming a nurse in Canada, you need to be aware of the requirements and the benefits of working in this field. You need to complete a recognized nursing program, pass a licensing exam, demonstrate your language proficiency, and obtain a valid visa to work in Canada.
You can also enjoy the job opportunities, salary and benefits, and quality of life that Canada offers. If you are ready to take the next step, you can start by researching the nursing programs, the nursing regulatory bodies, and the immigration programs that are available for you. We hope this article has given you some useful information and guidance on what you need to know before deciding to be a nurse in Canada.
- Working as a Nurse In Canada without IELTS or NCLEX: This article explains how foreign nurses can apply for a temporary license to work in Canada through the Nova Scotia College of Nursing (NSCN), without taking the IELTS or NCLEX exams.
- How to Become a Nurse in Canada- Best and Simplified Guide: This article provides a comprehensive guide on the conditions and requirements for becoming a registered nurse in Canada, including educational achievements, prerequisite courses, clinical practice, continuing education, specializations, and licensing and registration.
- A Guide to Becoming a Nurse in Canada as a Foreign Nurse through the PNP Pathway: This article describes the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) pathway for foreign nurses who want to immigrate to Canada and work as nurses. It also covers the benefits, eligibility criteria, application process, and fees of the PNP pathway.
- Know what to prepare and how long it will take to work in Canada