What you need to succeed: 5 tools to help you launch your Canadian health care career

Published May 8, 2023.

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes   

In summary:   

  • A lack of familiarity with Canadian healthcare practices and workplace norms can be a significant challenge for internationally-trained healthcare professionals. 
  • Health care practices and protocols can vary widely from country to country, and understanding the Canadian healthcare system and its unique features can be a daunting task. 
  • There are a variety of resources available to help you familiarize yourself with the professional expectations found in a Canadian health care workplace. 

While the Canadian healthcare system is one of the best in the world, it can be challenging for internationally-educated healthcare professionals to launch their careers in this field. Despite their valuable skills and experience, many foreign-trained healthcare professionals face significant barriers when it comes to obtaining licensure and finding employment in Canada. 

One of the biggest challenges faced by internationally-educated healthcare professionals is the accreditation process. Depending on their country of origin, foreign-trained healthcare professionals may be required to complete additional training and certification to practice in Canada. This process can be lengthy and expensive, and may require significant sacrifices in terms of time and finances. 

Did you know Windmill Microlending can help you pay for the costs of your training, professional development courses, qualifying exams, designation or certification in Canada? Our affordable loans, of up to $15,000, can be used to cover fees and tuition for education and training on your path to career success. Find out more about how our microloans can be used on Windmill’s Frequently Asked Questions page. No Canadian credit history required. 

Another common barrier to success for internationally-trained healthcare professionals is language. While many foreign-trained healthcare professionals are highly skilled in their field, they may struggle to communicate effectively in English or French, which are the two official languages of Canada. This can create significant barriers to employment, as effective communication is critical in healthcare settings. 

Finally, lack of familiarity with Canadian healthcare practices can also be a significant challenge for internationally-trained healthcare professionals. Healthcare practices and protocols can vary widely from country to country, and understanding the Canadian healthcare system and its unique features can be a daunting task. 

Despite these challenges, there are strategies and resources available to help internationally-trained healthcare professionals succeed in Canada. By taking advantage of programs such as bridging programs, mentorship, and language training, foreign-trained healthcare professionals can gain the skills and knowledge needed to overcome these barriers and achieve their career aspirations in Canada's healthcare system. With the right support and guidance, internationally-trained healthcare professionals can make meaningful contributions to the Canadian healthcare system while fulfilling their own career goals. 

To help foreign-trained health care workers understand what they need to succeed in the Canadian health care system, Windmill Microlending talked to Lori Peppler-Beechey, Associate Head of Academic Affairs at Toronto’s Michener Institute of Education at University Health Network (UHN). Michener recently launched a new Fundamentals of Healthcare diploma program with courses on the Canadian healthcare system, interprofessional team-based care and roles, healthcare communication and fundamentals of patient care, among other topics designed to provide graduates with key attributes that will help support their success in their Canadian health care careers.  

Lori Peppler-Beechey Headshot

Michener Institute’s Lori Peppler-Beechey offers up the tools you need to succeed in the Canadian health care job market. 

In this blog post, Peppler-Beechey offers five attributes that can help internationally-educated health care professionals reach their career development goals in Canada.  

No. 1. Knowledge of the Canadian Healthcare System 

Healthcare systems can vary from country to country. Internationally-trained health care workers must build their understanding of the Canadian healthcare system, including medical terminology and localized standards of care. Programs like those offered at Michener, are designed to help immigrant and refugee health care workers accelerate their process of becoming familiarized with Canadian health care system expectations, common practices and norms. This type of programming can also position you for success in your pursuit of Canadian health care job opportunities by addressing any concerns about a lack of Canadian experience. 

No. 2. Fluency in English and/or French 

Clear and concise communication is essential to support high quality and safe patient care in Canadian health care settings, making it a crucial skill for health care professionals working in this country. Regardless of the country where you received your health care education or training, your communication skills helped you succeed in delivering effective patient care. In Canada, those skills will continue to serve you but will need to reflect the practices and procedures employed in Canadian health care environments. For some newcomers, this can mean strengthening your fundamental English or French-language skills. For others, you may need to learn how patient information is transferred in a team-based health care setting. However, there’s no denying that the stronger your overall communications skills are, the better your career prospects will be in Canada’s health care system. 

HubSpot Video

WATCH: Michener Institute’s Lori Peppler Beechey reveals the top attributes to help foreign-trained health care workers succeed in Canada. 

No. 3. Cultural Competence 

Health care in Canada is culturally diverse and healthcare professionals must be able to work with patients from a wide variety of cultural backgrounds. This may be different than health care work environments from your country of origin. Internationally-educated health care professionals, in some cases, are well-positioned to serve diverse patients and work alongside colleagues from different cultural heritages, given their own lived experiences in their new country. However, programs like the Fundamentals of Health Care offering at Michener, enable foreign-trained workers to better understand the realities of their new Canadian workplace settings. This prepares you to enter any health care environment ready to deliver the best possible patient care no matter who you’re dealing with.  

No. 4. Strong Interpersonal Skills 

Internationally-trained health care professionals need to be able to communicate effectively, and work collaboratively in a team-oriented environment. The demonstration of empathy and compassion are also important in order to support patients and their families. While no training course can fully transform an individual’s interpersonal skills, overnight, it can help to refresh and update your skills and give you a clearer picture of Canadian health care expectations, in this regard. Soft interpersonal skills can often mean the difference between a positive patient experience and a negative one or a healthy and inclusive workplace versus a toxic one. That’s why taking steps to strengthen and highlight your interpersonal skills can help you in the pursuit of your Canadian health care career goals.  

No. 5. Adaptability 

Health care in Canada is rapidly evolving and health-care professionals must be able to work collaboratively to adopt new technologies, procedures and roles. From the use of digital health care databases to post-COVID safety practices to new use-cases for artificial intelligence (AI) in health care, the changing tools and processes of Canadian health care workplace can make it challenging for internationally-educated health care workers to navigate and thrive. Remaining up to date on the trends and transformation taking place in Canadian health care can prepare you to adjust to the changes more rapidly. You can follow news and developments from your provincial regulatory body or college, seek out training like that offered by Michener, or engage with Canadian health care thought leaders on social media. Any of these actions will help you adapt more easily to the rapid pace of change you’ll experience as you compete for health-care jobs in your new country.   

Are you an internationally-educated health care worker, living in Canada, who needs funds to pay for your Canadian accreditation, training, qualifying exams or professional development courses? Over 95% of eligible newcomers are approved for a Windmill Microlending loan of up to $15,000. No Canadian credit history required. Start your application today. 

Categorized in: Career Success and Planning, Accreditation and Licensing, In-demand Jobs, Education and Training,