Important Exams for Internationally Educated Nurses in Canada

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Orthopaedic Nursing

Becoming a nurse can transform you in so many ways. The experience also varies from country to country. Considering the impact of the profession in Canada, one must know that nurses are one of the most trusted professionals in the country.

When the idea of continuing nursing education in Canada comes up, we all look for best nursing programs in Canada. However, the definition of ‘best’ can vary for all of us, depending upon our future goals. For most of us, being a part of the Canadian healthcare workforce is the end goal and that requires sufficient amount of skills, knowledge and experience. Before working, it is advisable to enroll in 2-year nursing programs in Canada or study two nursing programs in Canada. Doing so can help you to be a part of the competent healthcare workforce.

Well, if your definition for best nursing programs in Canada includes an interest to study specific nursing disciplines, then specialized nursing programs offered by INSCOL can be the right fit for you. Our programs are tailor-made to facilitate established pathways for Internationally Educated Nurses (IENs) in Canada.

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Who is considered an Internationally Educated Nurse (IEN) in Canada?

A nursing graduate or a nursing professional who has obtained an accredited nursing degree from anywhere apart from Canada is known as an Internationally Educated Nurse in the country.

Say, if your home country is India and you have successfully completed your nursing diploma/degree from there but want to continue your nursing education in Canada, you’ll be referred to as an IEN in Canada.

Before applying for any study program, one must also note that the eligibility criteria for IENs might vary in every province of the country. The requirements for nursing programs in Ontario can be somewhat different from that in other provinces of the country.

Best Nursing Programs in Canada for IENs

As an international student, you must look for programs aligning well with your academic history and future goals. Canada needs nurses with an advanced qualification in different nursing disciplines. Nurses with an exposure to disciplines like mental health and gerontology are highly preferred in the country.

Before studying nursing in Canada, you must carefully research about the program options available. Studying 2-year nursing programs or completing two nursing programs in Canada can strengthen your profile for the registration process in the province. To simplify your choices, INSCOL has an exclusive range of specialized nursing programs, tailor-made to boost career choices for IENs. With our programs, you also get an exposure to real time scenarios, inducing hands on practice in diverse healthcare settings.

Specializations like palliative care, community mental health and nursing leadership & management include modules catering to cultural diversity, issues in mental health nursing and leadership studies. Adding to the pool of advantages is the RN/RPN exam preparation module that is a part of the nursing leadership and management program.

So nurses, before making a move, give a strong consideration to what you’re going to study and how is it going to create an impact for you in the long run.

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Four Important Exams to Know About

The process for nursing registration is similar in every province of Canada but it is possible that every nursing body will assess you differently. In Ontario, you must clear certain examinations determining your competency to work as a nurse. Mentioned here are the details about four important exams, all Internationally Educated Nurses (IENs) should know about.


The Canadian Practical Nurse Registration Examination (CPNRE) is a competency-based examination for students who have successfully completed accredited practical nursing programs. In order to work as a Registered Practical Nurse in Ontario, you must clear this exam.

Evolving from paper-and-pencil to computer based testing, CPNRE is now a technology driven examination conducted by Pearson Vue. There are 165-170 multiple-choice questions to be answered in the duration of four hours. To clear this examination, one must have a proper knowledge about practical nursing principles and their application in any given situation.


The National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) is a mandatory exam required by association of nursing to assess a candidate’s eligibility for practicing entry-level nursing. In order to work as a Registered Nurse in Ontario, you must clear this exam. Before planning where you want to take the NCLEX, submit your application to a province or territory. This exam is only open for the students who hold an accredited nursing degree.

The sole purpose of this examination is to determine if you can begin practicing entry-level nursing or not. Questions for NCLEX will test your critical thinking skills to make judgements as a nurse. For details about preparing for and clearing the examination, you can also refer to an elaborated piece mentioning all you need to know about NCLEX.

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The Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) aims to assess your performance based upon your clinical competence. Falling under the category of Internationally Educated Nurses Competency Assessment Program (IENCAP), OSCE has been in practice since 2013.

The exam takes place in a setting similar to real-life clinical situations in order to provide a clear picture of an applicant’s nursing competencies than a strictly paper-based assessment.

You are eligible to take OSCE if you have successfully completed a nursing program designed to prepare you for becoming a Registered Nurse (RN) or a Registered Practical Nurse (RPN) in Ontario. Once your nursing education and experience if any, is assessed by the College of Nurses of Ontario, you must take this examination.

4. Jurisprudence Examination

It is an examination focused at testing your understanding about laws, regulations and practice standards governing the profession of nursing in Ontario. The jurisprudence exam is an open-book online exam you can write at any time during your application. You can take the exam as many times as you need. When applying to become RN or RPN, the jurisprudence examination remains the same. The only situation where you will have to take this exam again will be if you wrote it more than 5 years ago.

Questions for this examination are in the context of nursing rules, professional responsibility and everything ethical that you must be aware about before working as a nurse. For a closer look, it is advisable to check a few sample questions before writing the exam.

Source: CNO

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Why study & work in Ontario?

When it comes to exploring new countries apart from your home country, Canada is a wise choice for Internationally Educated Nurses (IENs). A large number of international nursing students are studying in Ontario.
Many reasons make Ontario a favorable choice for you but the factor of being immigrant friendly is the strongest of all. Located in central Canada, Ontario has trusted colleges and universities offering reliable 2-year nursing programs for international students.

The fact that the province needs more number of RNs and RPNS in the nursing workforce assures there’s plenty of room for young nursing graduates.

Once you hop onto the journey of studying and working in Ontario, be prepared to undergo a transformation personally and professionally. Being surrounded by multicultural people can be an enrichening experience in various manners. From learning new patient care techniques to shaping new cultural perspectives, Ontario can be life changing for you.

Choose the Way Forward

Nurses, to have a secure future one must work in the present. The decision to move out of your home country can be overwhelming if you let it be. Once you’re sure about the driving forces behind it, you are set to be unstoppable!


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