The African channel to recruit 1000 nurses
Over the next two years, approximately 1000 female students recruited in Africa will have completed their upgrade to become nurses in Quebec. A lifeline for several regional CEGEPs, but a source of frustration for Montreal hospitals, struggling with a shortage of nurses.
Amelie Leticia Kwebou Tchasseum, nursing student, Cégep de Chicoutimi.
In 2018, the teaching of nursing sciences at Cégep de La Pocatière, in Bas-Saint-Laurent, came close to being removed from the establishment's programs.
It was our most difficult year, recalls the director general of the cégep, Marie-Claude Deschênes. Four female students were enrolled in the program, so do the math: there's nothing profitable about keeping a four-student program […] with five, six teachers.
After discussions with the Ministry of Education, hospitals in the region and citizen groups, the Cégep's board of directors authorized the continuation of the program.
We decided to promote the nursing profession in the region […] and attract international students, explains Ms. Deschênes.
Marie-Claude Deschênes, director general of Cégep de La Pocatière.
French-speaking Africa was favored rather than France.
“We made partnerships, especially in Cameroon. These people were ready to immigrate here, to stay working in the region, it was an advantage. »
— Marie-Claude Deschênes, Director General of Cégep de La Pocatière
Today, the nursing program has 59 students, including seven recruited internationally.
As data from the Fédération des cégeps point out, the next generation of college nurses nursing remains a challenge. The number of students enrolled in the DEC in nursing sciences in Quebec has decreased from 1,765 in 2010 to less than 1,500 in 2020.
The Quebec government announced last year an investment of $65 million to recruit more than 1,000 nurses from abroad. Reinforcements are beginning to arrive: a blessing for hospitals and nursing programs, which would be forced to close for lack of relief. Report by Davide Gentile
The approach developed by La Pocatière is part of a favorable context when Quebec launched, a year ago, a program involving the province's CEGEPs with a view to eventually recruiting 1,000 nurses internationally.
Unveiled by Ministers Jean Boulet and Christian Dubé, it aims to accelerate the recognition of skills for French-speaking candidates who have comparable work experience […] and training in nursing care similar to that offered in Quebec.
This is what has enabled the Bas-Saint-Laurent, for example, to welcome some thirty international students since the fall.
Quebec assumes the tuition fees and pays a weekly allowance of $500 to female students.
Planned envelope: $65 million over two years.
Since the session of Fall 2022, nearly 500 female students are enrolled in refresher training in CEGEPs in about ten regions, including Saguenay-Lac Saint-Jean.
Cameroonian nursing students at Cégep de Chicoutimi.
In Cameroon , we heard a lot about the nursing profession in Quebec, that it is such a valued profession in Quebec, explains Amelie Leticia Kwebou Tchasseum.
Training in Cameroon is good, but afterwards, we don't always have a job that allows us to be stable in life, she adds.
< p class="e-p">During our visit to Cégep de Chicoutimi, other students from Cameroon tell how Quebec and Canada have a good reputation.
Yes, it's talked about in the media all the time, but to tell the truth, it was a dream for me, says Landrine Gymfat Teufac Tobie. I always told my father that I would go to Quebec one day, I would go to Canada one day.
The much publicized work overload does not scare the 'student Danielle Constantine Foning Maffo.
“The workload worry was not because at home also the workload is huge, we had one nurse for at least 15 patients in our home.
— Danielle Constantine Foning Maffo
Danielle Constantine Foning Maffo, nursing student, cégep de Chicoutimi.
In less than 12 months, most will have completed their training and internship. What I really learn is the handling of the devices which are not the same, the scoring techniques are not the same after giving the care, remarks Ms. Foning Maffo.
< p class="e-p">In total, the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean health network expects to hire around 25 candidates from the program in the next year.
It takes a lot for the integration and adaptation of this world, so we prefer to go in small doses and that the results are conclusive, says the senior adviser in workforce planning ;work at the CIUSSS, Dominique Gagnon.
Dominique Gagnon, Senior Workforce Planning Advisor work at the CIUSSS du Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean.
A small dose that could grow.
In terms of demography, the region has a problem […] we have no choice but to turn to immigration, it is one of the means, maintains Mr. Gagnon. This is not the only way, but one of the ways out.
Not to mention the survival of college education programs in the regions .
It is the international clientele that allows us to continue to offer our programs, to have enough students to allow us to give our courses, recognizes Sébastien Renaud, director of continuing education, cégep de Chicoutimi.
According to the plans of the Ministry of Immigration, Francisation and Integration, Montreal will get a share of the cohorts in the last phase of the program which extends until the winter of 2024.
The objective is to have 389 candidates […] in the regions of Montreal and Quebec, we write.
For the president of the Union of Care Professionals of the East Island of Montreal, Denis Cloutier, the target for Montreal and the delay is absolutely not justified.
“In my opinion, we are really facing an objective of the Department of Immigration which wishes to see more immigrants ;installing in the regions without really taking into account the needs of the establishments of the health network”
— Denis Cloutier, president of the Union of healthcare professionals of the East-of-the-island-of-Montreal
Even recently, a report pointed to the glaring lack of nurses in the east end of Montreal, where 29% of the island's population lives.
Of all the health establishments in Quebec, the CIUSSS de l'Est-de-l'Île-de-Montréal is the one with the highest hopes of recruitment abroad in order to to curb the shortage of nurses from which its hospitals and CHSLDs suffer.
A mandate to recruit 565 nurses has been entrusted by the establishment to the Ministry of Health. For Denis Cloutier, of the Union of Care Professionals of the East-of-the-Island of Montreal, the system of recognition of foreign diplomas for nurses could be improved.
According to him, the ideal model remains the France-Quebec agreement which implies automatic recognition of French diplomas, while the program involves an evaluation of each file, even if the academic paths have already been evaluated.