Rachael Owojori is a clinical coordinator in Saskatoon. As an internationally educated nurse, Rachael has a deep understanding of the kind of support that IENs need to be successful in Canada. Mentorship from more established IENs, financial support and fairness are at the top of her list.

“Not just train them to the floor, to work, get them someone to actually mentor them,” she says. “Older IENs will be the best to mentor the new ones. When they have someone who has never been out of this country to mentor someone that just came in, they can try, but it’s not the same.”

As governments look to IENs to help solve the nursing shortage, Rachael hopes to see a health care system that IENs can thrive in without racism and discrimination.

Rachael says nurses on the front lines need to be a part of conversations about how to improve workplaces and the nursing shortage crisis. She works in home care now, previously working in both acute care and long-term care. Regardless of the sector, Rachael says the staffing shortage is a constant challenge.

“It dampens your spirits going to work, knowing you’re going to work short, and you’re probably going to not leave at the time you’re supposed to leave,” Rachael says.

In her time as a nurse, Rachael has seen first-hand that the shortage is getting worse. It’s getting harder and harder to fill shifts, and she often works short. Rachael says she and her colleagues try their best, but when there aren’t enough nurses to fulfill patient needs, it affects the quality of care they can provide.“

When we have limited resources, it’s hard to have quality outputs. I mean, you can’t give what you don’t have,” she says. “For instance, if you have someone in a rural area and we don't have any trained nurse that is available. How do we provide proper care for that person?”