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Expanding and Modernizing Processes for Internationally Educated Nurses

Oct. 12, 2022

The College of Registered Nurses of Alberta (CRNA) has made strategic changes to the application processes for internationally educated nurses (IENs) to increase its contribution to Alberta's health-care system. We are also embarking on a new process in 2023 that will streamline IEN applications.

Our priority is registering applicants who meet the updated criteria for safe nursing practice as quickly as possible.

We are acting now.

We are updating our policies with the goal of streamlining requirements:

  • Updating the practice hour requirements using hours gained through education, competency assessments, and clinical practice hours (within the last three years), focusing on recent hours versus the last five years.
  • Facilitating ways in which IEN applicants can meet their evidence of practice hours by working with employers to complete a supervised practice experience.
  • Expediting the assessment processes.
  • Changing the English language competency (ELC) requirements by adding different ways to demonstrate English proficiency.
  • Providing applicants provisional (temporary) permits so they can work while they prepare to write the nursing entrance exam.

Action we are working on for 2023:

A new pilot will begin in late winter/early spring of 2023; applicants will only have to submit one application and complete one assessment. We are working with the Nursing Community Assessment Service (NCAS) and other provinces to begin this new pilot.

This involves a redesign of how IENs apply and are assessed.

Specifically, it seeks to:

  • Ensure registration pathways are clear to the applicant.
  • Reduce complexity and enhance flexibility.
  • Reduce processes.
  • Increase speed, transparency and fairness of the process.
  • Eliminate the comparative educational analysis with a focus on competency rather than a course-by-course analysis, which is time-consuming and complex.
  • Create an Alberta simulation lab for competency assessments that will increase timeliness and access.

We will also submit and suggest changes to current regulation that will modernize the current process.

"The CRNA is committed to ensuring that the application process for internationally educated nurses is transformed to enhance the health-care system for all Albertans." Joy Peacock, CEO and registrar