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We’re only two weeks in, and May has already proven to be a significant month for worker movements. We’ve seen a rapid increase in calls for labor unions across major corporations. We’ve seen workplaces implement new tactics in attempt to improve worker shortages, especially in front-line positions. And recently, we’ve seen a major uptick in workers moving from the U.S. to Canada, specifically because Canada does not limit its work visas for entrepreneurs and those in tech. As well, earlier this year, Ontario started recognizing internationally trained nurses. While this deployment started in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, many are hoping that this will improve the future of the nursing profession.

Seeing as it’s National Nursing Week in Canada, let’s discuss what has improved the healthcare industry for nurses. From this, we can also talk about what employers can do to further help them thrive in their field. After all, if the pandemic has proven anything, it’s that nurses are the backbone of our healthcare system.

Recent Changes in the Healthcare Industry or Nurses

As previously mentioned, Ontario only recently began allowing internationally trained nurses and nursing students to start working in their field. Before this, they had not been acknowledged as the professionals they are and have been trained to be. While this is good news—these nurses can finally start working in their field of work—many are hoping that this is more than a temporary solution. As registered nurse and podcast host Amie Varley notes, there has been nursing shortages since before the pandemic hit. She says Ontario has only begun allowing nurses to work as a last-ditch effort to combat COVID-19.

“We’ve had these nurses here, they’re absolutely very skilled workers, and there have been way too many… barriers, too many hoops that internationally educated nurses had to jump through” Varley told CP24.

Varley continues to say that immigration processes and access to open working permits have prevented many from working in their field. And this brings about the question: what happens to these nurses in a post-COVID-19 world? Will these rules no longer apply to internationally trained nurses? Will they and nursing students once again be out of work, even when the Canadian healthcare system relies on them?

The Future of the Nursing Profession

While Ontario has seen a 10% decrease in hospitalizations, COVID-19 often moves in significant waves. So, it’s crucial to always have staff ready for when we need them most. Varley notes that often this prejudice against internationally trained workers is reenforced or based in Eurocentric values. In this way, what the healthcare industry requires is both equitable hiring and anti-racist training and support for their workers. For employers and recruiters, this may require changing hiring practices to instead use an automated, unbiased system, like that we here at Workwolf use. This might also require some training from professionals, like Varley to ensure equitable support, especially when working on the front-lines.

In addition, Varley says Ontarians must work to repeal bill 124. That is, we must help nurses fight against wage-suppression and for nurses’ right to bargain. While the Ontario Nurses Association (ONA) has challenged the bill, supporters can help by signing this petition in solidarity with nurses. Like labourers who work to unionize, nurses have the right to bargain for better working conditions. This includes fair wages, permanent, full-time work hours, paid sick days, and health and childcare benefits. Without these, nurses may continue to face burn out and may start resigning en masse again.

How You Can Help Improve the Future of the Nursing Profession

You can support nurses in Ontario by fostering and encouraging in others equitable treatment for nurses. If you’re an employer or recruiter who regularly hires nurse practitioners and other healthcare workers, you can start by changing your hiring practices to be less biased and more equitable.

Here at Workwolf, we use Packfinder to filter and benchmark candidates based on psychometric profiling to ensure our hiring process is as unbiased as possible. Packfinder measures for soft skills that are necessary for a certain position or field of work. Workwolf also offers credential verifications that can be created and used as part of a Digital Work Passport. For nurses, the Digital Work Passport is a way to share all verified credentials necessary for a position. So, whether a nurse is moving between institutions or is starting a new job and needs to show all of their credentials and qualifications quickly, they can do so simply with any portable digital device.

Employers and recruiters can now purchase verifications on behalf of nurses to do background checks and to offer candidates value. That’s right! You can support nurses by offering them a free verification that showcases their registered nurse status and other credentials. Not only does this show your support for nurses working in Canada, it also shows that you value your candidate and that you care for their success. Who knows, maybe they’ll refer you to a friend, or come back to you for more jobs in the future! For more information, check out how employers and recruiters can purchase verification packages here.

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