From Cameroon to Matane: Nurses to the rescue of Quebec

Spread the love

From Cameroon to Matane: nurses to the rescue of Quebec

They have experience and left their country to work with us. A Quebec government program offers them one-year refresher training and a promise of three-year employment away from major centers, in regions where the needs are most urgent. Portrait of these remarkable exiles.

Tatiana Zangue, a nurse from Cameroon, arrived in Matane in October 2022 with her husband and two children. She is taking refresher training to practice in Quebec. She will first spend 3 years in the Bas-Saint-Laurent region.

“It's the desire to discover new horizons, new ways of working elsewhere”, says Tatiana Zangue, who came from Cameroon to settle in Matane with her husband and two young children, a three-year-old boy and a one-and-a-half-year-old girl.

His motivation seems unfailing. A nurse since 2017 at the Maroua hospital in northern Cameroon, she inquired before coming to Quebec with her sister-in-law who is a nurse in Montreal. She told me that the work is intense, you have to be available, to fight, to work really well. But above all be available.

Allusion to compulsory overtime, the TSO. Tatiana heard about it. But it doesn't really scare him.

“It's not just Quebec that has this overtime problem. In other countries it is the same. Sometimes it's to save lives. It's just that you have to be ready to help patients as much as you can. »

— Tatiana Zangue

The children both go to daycare. After crying a lot at first, they adapted well, says Tatiana. Her husband is a mechanic, a sought-after skill that allowed him to get hired right away in Matane. When he arrived, he applied, he was accepted, it's really wonderful!, she exclaims.

Despite the housing shortage, after extensive research on the Internet, the small Cameroonian family managed to find a 4 and a half not too expensive. It is perfect, it suits me very well. It is spacious, well placed, there are games for children. This new life definitely seems off to a good start!

Tatiana says she is ready to work in obstetrics, a sector that suffers from service interruptions several times a year at the Matane hospital, but also throughout the Gaspé Peninsula. It's part of my training. I like helping to give life, she said simply.

In the next three years, she will be able to work exclusively in Bas-Saint-Laurent, the administrative region to which Matane, Rimouski and Rivière-du-Loup fall. Matane is a small town, very quiet, I can stay there. It was the Matanais who welcomed me, I am proud to stay with them.

Houda Reifoun (left), a graduate of the Higher Institute of Nursing and Health Technology in Casablanca, loves working in emergency care and intensive care. She poses next to a colleague from Cameroon.

Houda Reifoun, 24, is from Morocco. To be a nurse in Canada was a dream for me, a childhood dream. I really like helping people, says the one who worked for three years as an emergency and intensive care nurse in Casablanca.

The grass always looks greener elsewhere, but Houda is convinced: Nursing is well developed here. Working conditions, organization of work, recognition of the nursing profession by everyone, by the population. There are many advantages.

Wasn't it too hard to leave Morocco? Yes, it was tough. It's not easy to make this decision. It's sacrifice, leaving your family and your job behind. My mother and my father found it difficult, they are alone now at home. But this is my future. My family understands that and said go ahead!

Houda is single and has no children. She shares a room with another Moroccan registered in the upgrading program, at the Cégep de Matane student residence.

“I really like working in intensive care, resuscitation, neonatology. It's a lot of stress, but I like adrenaline a lot. I am used to receiving complicated cases.

— Houda Reifoun

Her colleagues were sad to see her go. They tried to hold her back, telling her she couldn't stand the cold in Canada. Probably because they are losing a good nurse. In fact, in the hospital where I worked, says Houda, there is a lack of staff, because it is a new center. The shortage of nurses also affects Morocco.

She also explains that resigning from the public sector is a long and complicated procedure, which must go through the Minister of Health. She preferred simply to abandon her post, a decision of no return.

Dorice Aimée Chouadje (right) and her colleague Esther Badefona Boyogueno are both from Cameroon. They have a lot of fun learning Quebec expressions.

We are going to redo the exercises, to make sure – excuse the Quebec expression – that we are on the mark!, says the teacher Nathalie Aubry during the laboratory course at Cégep de Matane, which focuses on protective measures against infections. Tiguidou!, answers Dorice Aimée Chouadje, from Cameroon.

This is not the only Quebec expression, or way of speaking, that she has learned in three months. Tabarnouche, here, in the morning, in the evening, bar the door, it won't be long. Beside her, donning blue gloves, her colleague Esther Badefona chuckles and adds to her own observations. It's fun, it's fun!

The two young women adapted very quickly to make themselves understood by the residents of the CHSLD de Matane, where they have been working as attendants for a few weeks, outside of school hours. Their imitations of Quebec French are tasty.

Beginning of the widget. Skip widget?Myriam Fimbry Le parle québécois de Dorice Aimée et EstherEnd of widget . Back to top of widget?

In reality, beyond the linguistic curiosities, adopting the Québécois language allows them to do their job better. Elders are very attached to their culture. It's not up to them to adapt to who we are. It is up to us to enter the world of the senior, explains Dorice Aimée. If you are not in his universe, the care is cut. Care goes through communication.

The Cameroonian nurse with five years of experience came with her husband and a child. They also have two daughters who have remained in the country for the moment, who will join them later. The weeks are busy, between classes at CEGEP (25 hours/week), reading to do at home, family chores and work as a beneficiary attendant (PAB).

“Studying and working takes a lot of courage, it must be said. We hope we will hold on until the end.

—Dorice Aimée

The Quebec Immigration Department allocates an amount of $500 per week to each student, during the 9 to 12 months that the refresher training lasts. It's true that we have allowances, but for us who are parents, who have left family in the country and who have to pay the rent, utilities and everything, that's often not enough.

Especially since Dorice Aimée would like to buy a house one day to accommodate the family in a larger place.

That is why the Ministry of Health has planned to allow students to work as PABs to earn an income, up to a maximum of 20 hours per week. A decision that also relieves the labor shortage in this profession.

Hicham El-Jaoui, from Morocco, feels a little stressed in anticipation of the OIIQ exam, but he still has nearly 10 years of work as a nurse in different health structures in the Atlas region.< /p>

The disadvantage of these taps, it wastes water, notes Hicham El-Jaoui. In the classroom, he practices the exercise of washing his hands thoroughly, while letting the tap water run. This would be unthinkable in Morocco, which is going through a period of drought. But to respect the procedure, he must not touch the handles of the tap, to avoid contaminating his hands.

Hicham worked as a nurse for almost ten years in the region of the Atlas, in Beni Mellal, between Casablanca and Marrakech. He came to Matane alone and is staying in a room in the CEGEP residence, which he shares with another student enrolled in the same program. Quite a change of scenery and life.

My mother? She was against… It was not easy to leave. He lived with his aging parents whom he helped in various ways. But at 32, he wanted to leave the family nest and move forward in his career. The profession is better organized here, with the presence of the Order of Nurses of Quebec [OIIC], he says simply.

The refresher course, whose expected duration is 9 to 12 months with the internship, includes a large part of revision. Many guidelines, such as infection control measures, are universal. Moreover, they have been strictly enforced around the world since the COVID-19 pandemic. We put on the same suit there, we only saw the eyes, he recalls.

At the end of the accelerated training, you will have to pass the exam of 'OIIQ. Hicham is stressed, he heard about a high failure rate last session.

“The Order exam stresses me out. If you fail, the whole training is ruined. You only have three chances. You have to work really hard to be successful. But we'll get through this, we'll be fine. On the first try, of course. »

—Hicham El-Jaoui

He will have to assimilate small procedural details, the management of paperwork, the differences in vocabulary and jargon, to master the particularities of the Quebec system. Above all, he will have to understand the clinical role that the nurse plays, the way in which he or she gives his or her opinion and collaborates with the doctor. A role, in the opinion of immigrants, more important in Quebec and Canada.

Halla Yezza (right), originally from Algeria, practices unpacking the sterile drape without contaminating it, a procedure that allows for example to change a bandage. She is with another Algerian nurse, in training like her in Matane.

It was my husband who suggested that I change country, after three months of marriage, said Halla Yezza, half-amused, half-resigned. As they have no children yet, they both came as a couple. At 28, she has more than six years of experience as a nurse in Algeria.

He has a degree in automation and robotics. He saw that Canada is very advanced in the field. But for the moment, he has not been able to work, because he has not yet received the result of his equivalency, explains Halla. In the meantime, he's washing dishes in a seniors' residence to earn some money.

“The first few days it was a bit difficult to get used to and settle in. But as the people are really nice and the welcome was really warm, we adapt quickly. »

—  Halla Yezza

Not without difficulty, they found a fully equipped apartment to rent before coming here, by doing research on the Internet and calling many landlords . Here in Matane, there are not many accommodations compared to Montreal. But it's okay.

The only real difficulty, according to Halla, is with the food. She struggles to find the necessary ingredients to cook dishes like in Algeria.

Here, there are not many shops and to find products for couscous or Halal meat, it was not easy. We found some, but in small quantities.

The arrival of several Moroccan, Algerian and Tunisian families could, however, change the situation in the grocery stores of Matane.

The La Matanie Newcomers Welcome Service (SANAM) has been helping the cohort of students, since their arrival this fall, with individual support, pairings and social activities. Its main concern is long-term retention.

It is not attractiveness, but retention that is the sinews of war, explains Annie Veillette, a native of Matane and general manager. We see a lot of them, young professionals who will come, try a job, then sometimes they leave, you know. That's why we do a lot of social activities to allow them to develop a network, make friends, [form] couples if necessary, if that can happen!

    < li>Announced on February 22, 2022;
  • Has 207 people in training currently in CEGEPs;
  • Welcomes people from the following places: Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Cameroon, Mauritius;
  • Distributes people to the following host regions: Abitibi-Témiscamingue, Bas-Saint-Laurent, Côte-Nord, Gaspésie-Îles-de-la-Madeleine, Outaouais and Saguenay -Lac-Saint-Jean;
  • A group of 37 people in Gaspésie and 36 in Bas-Saint-Laurent, including 16 in Matane;
  • Most work part-time as beneficiaries;
  • 223 other people will soon begin their training, in the following regions: Capitale-Nationale, Estrie, Lanaudière, Laurentides and Montérégie;
  • Recruitment is still underway for phases 3 and 4.