Manitoba’s mission to find nurses in the Philippines to supplement the province’s health-care system is underway.
Ken Borce, a member of the provincial recruitment delegation meeting potential candidates in Manila, says he knows first-hand what the experience is like.
Borce, now chief of clinical operations for CancerCare Manitoba, originally came from the Philippines himself to work in the province as a nurse.
“In my experience, yes, there are a lot of sacrifices, the process is rigorous. But all this effort toward getting your nursing registration to practise in Manitoba, it’s all worthwhile,” Borce told Global News.
“It’s been a great journey for me.”
The delegation will move on from Manila later this week to visit two other cities in the Philippines, with the goal of attracting nurses who can start working in Manitoba health-care facilities by the summer. The response so far, Borce said, has been very positive.
“Today’s our day one of interviewing and meeting the candidates.
“The enthusiasm, the energy, the optimism — it’s actually humbling. … It’s a humbling experience.”
While Winnipeg is known for its large Filipino population, Borce said the community has expanded well beyond the provincial capital, giving Manitoba a unique advantage.
“It’s not just concentrated in Winnipeg. We have a lot of Filipino communities outside of the city,” he said.
“Other provinces, I’m not sure they can say the same thing, but here in Manitoba, we have a lot of very strong Filipino communities they can rely on.”
Monika Warren, chief nursing officer of Shared Health, said the delegation is working with a pair of recruitment firms to find the right candidates.
“We met with approximately 65 candidates (the first day) and had great conversations with them,” Warren said.
“We saw a real high piqued interest to immigrate and move to Manitoba.”
Warren said the recruitment process is two-fold. Selected candidates will work with an immigration team helping them navigate that side of things, while a second focus will assist them from the employment angle, familiarizing them with equipment and procedures and preparing them for working in Manitoba.
The provincial government is covering costs including travel to the province, course fees and licensing fees.
“There’s lots of financial support, lots of support from the employers, and we know also from our vibrant Filipino community, that there will be lots of community supports with them as well also that they don’t feel alone throughout the process.”
The recruitment trip, aimed at shoring up Manitoba’s nursing numbers as the health-care sector continues to struggle with vacancies, will hopefully fill an urgent need, she said.
“We desperately need the help.
“We really see this as one of our strategies to bring that help to nurses and the (health care) teams, while we wait for those increased nursing seats to really realize those actual increased numbers of Manitoba-grown nurses here in Manitoba.”