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Kellie Crnic blends her skills of bedside nursing and larger systems thinking to assist integrating internationally educated nurses into our, and other health-care organizations.
October 25, 2022

Introducing a project manager for the Internationally Educated Nurse Integration Program

Kellie Crnic has been a registered nurse (RN) at Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) for over 10 years. She has worked at all acute sites in critical care settings such as the Emergency Department and the Intensive Care Unit.

Crnic is passionate about providing best care for all at the bedside and is always thinking of ways to improve the quality and delivery of care. Her interest in quality improvement lead her to complete her Masters in Quality Improvement and Patient Safety at the University of Toronto.

Leading change in nursing at HHS

Now, Crnic is a project manager for the Internationally Educated Nurse (IEN) Integration Program which also supports the Supervised Practice Experience Partnership (SPEP) at HHS. The Integration program is funded by the Ontario Ministry of Labour Training and Skills development, where the SPEP is funded by the Ontario Ministry of Health.

In her role, Crnic blends her skills of bedside nursing and larger systems thinking together to assist RNs and registered practical nurses, educated abroad, to become fully integrated into HHS and other health-care organizations. The SPEP provides IENs an opportunity to demonstrate Evidence of Practice as well as language proficiency, which is necessary to meet requirements for registration as a nurse in Ontario.

Crnic ensures those enrolled in the program have access to resources that will support their integration into the Canadian health-care system, including review of nursing skills, cultural humility, communication, and job coaching and career progression support.

Innovative programs open opportunities

Since October 2021, more than 130 individuals have registered for the IEN program at HHS, over 80 have completed it, and roughly 60 have been hired. In addition, 25 registrants have completed SPEP and 10 are currently participating.

Crnic credits these innovative programs for being able to help attract, train and retain nurses in this precarious and unprecedented environment. Funding for the integration program is secured until 2024, where the SPEP funding has been extended until March 2023, which Crnic says is a testament to the program and its value to HHS.

Crnic’s role has taught her how valuable interconnected and necessary various resources are to new and potential hires at HHS. From the onboarding process to working with educators and unit leadership, she says each step plays a vital and important part in a nurse’s journey to providing care for their patients.