Trupti arrived in Etobicoke, Ontario in 2012, and soon realized that she couldn’t find a job as a nurse without a license. She wasn’t sure what to do and didn’t know about any of her options. She asked for help at a non-profit organization called CARE (Centre for Internationally Educated Nurses), where they explained how nursing works in Canada and guided her through the steps she needed to take.
Being an internationally-trained nurse, Trupti wasn’t registered to practise in any Canadian jurisdiction, and her overseas training wasn’t fully taken into consideration. With this in mind, she applied to the College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO) to become a Registered Nurse (RN) and a Registered Practical Nurse (RPN).
After her arrival and for the first eight months, Trupti was a stay-at-home mom while waiting for the CNO’s assessment. However, she needed to support her husband with household expenses, so she got a factory job. That wasn’t the right type of work for her and, after six months, she decided to look for a different position. The thought of going back home crossed her mind. “I left a very reputable job in India and came here to start a factory job,” says Trupti. “I felt like that wasn’t me.”
Thanks to her nursing background, Trupti was hired to look after seniors as a caregiver. She arranged her part-time hours according to her husband’s schedule so they could both look after their daughter. It took her an hour and a half to get to work, but she knew she needed nursing experience. “My priority was to get the job, no matter how far from my home,” says Trupti.
Trupti completed the CNO assessment, passed the RPN exams and received her RPN eligibility. Unfortunately, she didn’t meet one requirement demonstrating that she was working as a nurse for the last three years. As a result, she needed to complete additional courses and practical hours. She couldn’t afford to pay for the required courses because her husband was working at a minimum-wage job.
While inquiring about student loans, Trupti saw a Windmill flyer. She contacted Windmill, had an interview with a staff member, and was approved for a microloan to help cover the cost of courses and textbooks. “I had a very good experience with the Windmill team. Their loan staff helped me a lot, and they assisted me in organizing my career goals,” she says.
Trupti enrolled in the Academic Pathway for Internationally Educated Nurses Graduate Certificate at George Brown College with the funds provided by Windmill. She graduated in 2016 after completing 14 courses and 400 practical hours. Two weeks later, she received her RPN license and, within a month, she was working as a Registered Practical Nurse in Etobicoke.
Today Trupti is waiting for a decision about her Registered Nurse eligibility so that she can become an RN.
Trupti has advice for anyone who wants to continue working in nursing in Canada: “Choose any healthcare profession job and learn more about the healthcare field. If you have an RN or an RPN license back home, you can get a personal support worker (PSW) or caregiver job in Canada. It’s one step back, but it’s good to give you knowledge about healthcare.”
From being a head nurse working in an operating room in India, to a factory worker and caregiver in Canada, Trupti has faced many challenges. However, being able to work as an RPN in Ontario is the biggest reward she could have received for her effort. “In the beginning it was hard,” she says. “But once you achieve your goal, you feel like you did it.”