Downward occupational mobility of baccalaureate-prepared, internationally educated nurses to licensed practical nurses

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Abstract

Aim

This study explored the experience of baccalaureate-prepared, internationally educated nurses who work as licensed practical nurses in Canada.

Background/Introduction

Internationally educated nurses experience several barriers to workforce integration on arrival in destination countries. Given these barriers, evidence suggests that internationally educated nurses sometimes experience downward occupational mobility and deskilling in destination countries. Some baccalaureate-prepared, internationally educated nurses work as licensed practical nurses in destination countries, but there is minimal research on this population.

Methods

We used an exploratory transnational feminist qualitative research design. Following ethics approval, a total of 14 baccalaureate-prepared, internationally educated nurses who currently or recently worked as practical nurses in Canada were interviewed for the study. Data were thematically analysed with the aide of NVivo 11 data software.

Results

Our results revealed four key themes related to the experiences of this group of nurses: they migrate to Canada with hope for a better personal and professional life; they experience barriers to workforce integration as registered nurses and discover an easier path in the licensed practical nurse registration process; they experience deskilling and ambivalent skill recognition; and they feel dissatisfied as a licensed practical nurse in Canada.

Discussion/Conclusion

There is a need for policy to support the upward mobility of baccalaureate-prepared, internationally educated nurses who work as practical nurses.

Implications for Nursing Policy

Implications for policymakers include the need to address the barriers to becoming registered nurses, including application processing times and lack of adequate access to educational programmes.

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