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Hamilton Health Sciences’ Internationally Educated Nurse Program

The Government of Ontario, Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development (MLTSD), has extended funding of the Hamilton Health Sciences’ Internationally Educated Nurse (IEN) Integration Program for the period, October 1, 2021, until September 30th, 2024. The Project has been renamed the Hamilton Health Science’s Program.  Previously the Program has been funded since 2009-2019, by the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration (MCI),  Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities (MCTU) and until September 30, 2021 by the MLTSD.

The Service Charter
The HHS Internationally Educated Nurse (IEN) Integration Program commits to providing service excellence to our participants. We support IENs with their nursing journey in Ontario by providing a case management approach, and helping IENs with the development of an individualized learning plan to meet their learning needs, thereby enhancing their communication and clinical nursing skills. Our goal is to ensure that our participants are provided with mentorship and experiences thereby making them job-ready. Once hired in a commensurate role, the IEN Integration Program continues to support their integration into the Canadian healthcare system.

Our commitment is to provide

  • Respectful, knowledgeable, quality service on a timely basis
  • Access to current employment and career information 
  • Confidentiality
  • Referral to other community resources, as needed

Client Complaint/Compliments & Resolution Process.  The HHS IEN Integration Program places a high value on service quality by encouraging and responding to client feedback within five business days. The Project Manager and Project Lead will review client feedback, attempt to address concerns and provide a solution or referral to appropriate resources. 

The workforce integration program targets two groups:

  • Internationally Educated Nurses who have received a letter of direction from the College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO) to write either the RN/RPN Registration exams or who have their registration and are seeking their first nursing job in Ontario
  • Internationally Educated Nurses who have passed either the RN/RPN Registration exams and have lost their evidence of practice after April 1, 2019 (Nursing Evidence of Practice Pilot (NEPP)).

The Program team developed a Community Collaboration Employment Model to bridge the gap for IEN nurses by working with Academic and Community Partners.

The Internationally Educated Nurse (IEN) Nurse Integration Program will help registered nurses and registered practical nurses fully integrate into Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) hospital and other healthcare organizations. The Program will provide IENs from pre-hire, through orientation, to clinical integration, a continuum of clinical (hard skill) and communication (soft skill) support including clinical assessment, clinical skills development, problem solving, improved communication skills, team relationships, professionalism, and managing conflict in a hospital setting and workplace exposure opportunities.

The Supervised Practice Experience Partnership (SPEP) is a partnership program between the College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO), Ontario Health and CNO approved organizations. The program offers applicants the option to complete a supervised practice experience in Ontario to demonstrate current nursing knowledge, skill and judgement and language proficiency skills. Hamilton Health Sciences is participating in the program, giving applicants an opportunity to meet the following requirements to enter practice as a nurse: Evidence of Practice, or Evidence of Practice and Language Proficiency. Two cohorts are complete, a third cohort is currently in process, and a fourth cohort is scheduled for January 2023.

Interested participants must register with the CNO if they meet eligibility requirements, not through the HHS IEN Integration Program. More information is available on the CNO website, https://www.cno.org/en/become-a-nurse/registration-requirements/evidence-of-practice/supervised-practice-experience/overview/

Due the current COVID-19 Pandemic the Project team has had to alter the delivery of Project Interventions to virtual formats. The Effective Communication Strategies for Nurses (ECSN) course has been replaced with an online Nursing Communication Foundations Course 35-50 hours, provided by CARE Centre. Virtual Physical Assessment sessions are available at the Simulation Lab at Mohawk College in addition to in-person sessions.

Program Objectives


  • Nursing Communication Foundations, self-directed, online, provided by CARE Centre

Nursing Skills

  • Virtual and in-person monthly sessions to be scheduled: Documentation, IV Therapy, Medication Administration, Physical Assessment, Foley Catheterization etc.

Cultural Competency Training

  • Hamilton Centre for Civic Inclusion – Cultural Module Training to be scheduled virtually for 2021-2024

Hamilton Health Sciences

  • Job Coaching, Resume Review, Interview Preparation, ongoing, virtual available if needed
  • HHS Job Shadowing, on hold

Program Activities

  • Nursing Communication Foundation Course, 35-50 hour online course, provided by CARE Centre, scheduled for January 2023
  • Telephone Skills in the Nursing Context, provided by CARE Centre, 16-20 hours, online and live webinars, October/November 2022
  • Physical Assessment and Nursing Skill Sessions at the Learning Resource Centre, Mohawk College, Hamilton, Ontario, ongoing, Virtual and Onsite
  • Career Progression, Job Coaching, Resume Review, Interview Preparation, ongoing
  • HHS Job Shadowing, On Hold
  • HHS – Attendance at the Second Day of the HHS Nursing Orientation, On Hold
  • Hamilton Centre for Civic Inclusion – Cultural Module Training scheduled for October 26, 2022. Future sessions are scheduled for January 18, 2023 and March 22, 2023.
  • Job Coaching, Resume Review, Interview Preparation, ongoing


Katerina Bukshtynova – IEN Participant says:

“I am now living my dream working in the dynamic environment of OR and I know I am not alone, I can always count on the support of my Clinical Integrator”

Predrag Todric – IEN Clinical Integrator says:

“As an IEN myself, I knew that joining this project was something I wanted to do…if I can help even one nurse to make his/her integration to a new environment easy, my mission will be almost complete”

KeivanSaeedi – IEN Participant, Future Clinical Integrator says:

“Before I found this program, I was discouraged by the process of getting registered as a nurse.  Now, I’m able to practise in Canada, and I’m on my way to achieving my goal of becoming an RN.”  Keivan is working at HHS as an RPN and is enrolled part-time at Ryerson University and hopes to graduate soon as an RN.


Hamilton Health Science’s IEN/ESL Nurse Integration Project team received the 2012 HR Summit Award for the Employer Champion of Internationally Educated Professionals (IEP)

Hamilton Health Science’s IEN/ESL Nurse Integration Project team received the inaugural 2018 Champion of Diversity Award presented by the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration – January 16, 2018


For information on the project please contact:

Kellie Crnic, Interim Project Manager, crnick@hhsc.ca
Janice Collins, IEN Coordinator: collinsj@hhsc.ca

905-521-2100 ext. 77512 or ext. 77511

This Employment Ontario program is funded by the Government of Ontario.