Internationally Educated Nurses Faster and Fair Access route to RN in Alberta

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I am writing on behalf of the Internationally Educated Nurses (IENs) to express our concerns regarding the application process to become Registered Nurses in Alberta Canada. The assessment and registration process in both College and Association of Registered Nurses of Alberta (CARNA) and Mount Royal University (MRU) takes a very long time. Our concerns lie not only in the amount of time in document processing and assessment in CARNA, but also in many years of waiting to get accepted in the program at MRU. I am writing this in hopes that we can find help and be directed to the right authority to bring to their attention something we believe is unfair and requires a timely action.


CARNA assessment process alone is very lengthy, it took probably 1-2 years or longer, plus another hurdle of waiting, is getting a seat at MRU for the BCN (Bridge to Canadian Nursing) program. Every October 1st of each year, old and new applicants are encouraged to register for both WINTER and FALL intake for the following year. Every year, the application cost is 200$ and non-refundable, excluding thousands of money we spent throughout the whole process from CARNA step 1&2, NNAS (National Nursing Assessment Service) & ARNAP (Alberta Registered Nurses Assessment Program).  In addition, applicants must have a valid English test results (IELTS Academic or CELBAN) since the beginning of an application, meaning applicants must update the same English tests every two years otherwise applications will be rejected, and these exams cost another extra amount of our hard earned money. So sad to say that most of the IENS, myself included, have updated our English tests four times already and four attempts done for MRU admission as well, but we have no luck even to this day.


Several times we raised our concerns to CARNA and MRU about the issue, hoping to hear some good news, but over and over we’ve been told that seats are very limited and no enough funding from the government to accommodate high volumes of applicants. Recently, another IEN received an email from responding to her query about the application process. Again, she was told that seats are limited for the program, approximately 28 in winter and 56 in fall and that’s all they can offer. Last October 1, 2019, MRU BCN program received 356 applications for the 28 seats and don’t have the number of applications available for fall 2020 at this time yet, but last October 1, 2018 they’re closed to 400 applications for Fall 2019.


It’s so overwhelming to think that the process is getting more and more complicated, too difficult to understand why CARNA and MRU are continuously accepting new IEN applicants knowing that there’s a large amount of backlogs awaiting admission.


We, IENs feel so emotionally frustrated and hopeless regarding this issue- anxiously awaiting for our dreams to become a reality. We already spent too much time, money and effort in studying to comply all the requirements needed with no clear paths to our Registered Nurse career. The whole process is greatly affecting not just us but our families who are also sympathizing with us hoping that one day we will be able to contribute our nursing skills and abilities to our second home - Canada. We, Internationally Educated Nurses are achievers and strong and we have high hopes and belief  in this government that it will hear our pleas and be fair in looking for means to address these concerns.