FREDERICTON (GNB) – The registration process for internationally educated nurses from 14 designated countries will be expedited in New Brunswick, as announced by the Nurses Association of New Brunswick.

The changes will cut the time to become registered to work within the province from 12 to 18 months to as few as 14 days for nurses from the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Hong Kong, India, Philippines, United Arab Emirates, France, Belgium, Switzerland, Morocco and Lebanon. According to the association, the 14 designated countries represent over 75 per cent of all international nurse applicants to New Brunswick.

“The recent work of the nurses association has been phenomenal, moving quickly to bring significant changes that will boost our ability to get internationally educated nurses in the system in a timely manner,” said Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour Minister Trevor Holder. “This type of monumental change is exactly what we had in mind when we brought in the Fair Registration Practices in Regulated Professions Act, and we hope other regulatory bodies will follow suit to help us address other workforce challenges.”

“With the significant number of internationally educated nurses now entering our system, this expedited registration process is certainly a game-changer for New Brunswick,” said Health Minister Bruce Fitch. “Reducing the amount of time that international nurses work in non-equivalent roles such as personal support workers after their arrival will help bring timelier relief to our health-care providers who continue to face staffing challenges related to nurses.”

“When our government launched the Nursing Resource Strategy, we identified the recruitment of internationally educated nurses as a key action item,” said Social Development Minister Dorothy Shephard. “We have made incredible progress on the number of these nurses coming into our system, but these changes will ensure they can work, be paid, and maintain their skill level as they settle here in the province. We applaud the nurses association.”

While the pathway is being streamlined, the association will continue to use the expertise of the National Nursing Assessment Service to authenticate identification, initial registration and education to mitigate the risk of fraudulent nurses entering the health-care system. Some internationally educated nurses may be required to complete additional training, including coursework and clinicals. All internationally educated nurses are required to successfully complete an entry-to-practice examination.

“The Nurses Association of New Brunswick will continue to respond to the public’s need for health care, by assessing our processes, innovating, and finding solutions with our partners, while remaining fair to our applicants,” said Denise LeBlanc-Kwaw, CEO of the association. “We remain acutely aware of our obligation to the public to ensure we regulate nurses, who have the required education and competencies to work as registered nurses and nurse practitioners.”

The association expects to put these changes into operation over the coming weeks.