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First nurse registers through new program

For Sukh Kaur, the first nurse to register as a nurse through a new program CNO recently launched with Ontario Health, all the excitement started in a parking lot.

It was there at a long-term care home in Wingham that a health care colleague asked Kaur if she knew about CNO’s new Supervised Practice Experience Partnership (SPEP).

Kaur, who practiced as a nurse in India before moving to Canada, where she’s been a personal support worker for two years, wasn’t familiar with SPEP. The colleague explained that the program provides an opportunity for applicants in CNO’s registration process to complete the evidence of practice and, if outstanding, language proficiency requirements.

“I just told him my story: I hadn’t done my evidence yet. I was planning to go back to India for that,” Kaur says, adding that she hadn’t completed her language proficiency requirements. It turned out that Kaur was an ideal candidate for SPEP and a few weeks after that parking lot conversation she's now a Registered Practical Nurse (RPN).

Program draws significant interest

SPEP is one of several ways CNO is modernizing its applicant assessment processes and responding as a system partner to support the needs of our health care system. CNO contacts eligible SPEP applicants through the applicant portal with details on how to apply to the program. Alternatively, eligible applicants can reach out to CNO, as Kaur did. Organizations wishing to become a partner can also contact CNO.

Data from Ontario Health shows there’s been significant interest in SPEP since it started earlier this year. As of Feb. 25, 2022, 831 applicants have expressed interest. There have been 675 matches and 236 approved employers. As well, 86 applicants have indicated they would be willing to relocate to northern and rural communities to participate. This interest in SPEP comes at a helpful time, as there have been significant demands placed on the health care system due to the pandemic.

"I would recommend everyone who is eligible do this because it was super quick and easy to follow," Kaur says. "Everything was in a process so it went super smoothly for me.” She also says her employer was supportive and helpful throughout the process. This included her manager sending documents to CNO first thing in the morning because Kaur was so excited to get them in.

But what gives all the excitement meaning is that Kaur is passionate about practicing nursing safely. She grounds her approach by prioritizing empathy in a way that puts patients and residents first. "I like to understand residents, not just to go there and take care of them," she says, explaining why nursing, and becoming an RPN, means so much to her.

Her biggest achievement

As soon as Kaur learned she was an RPN, she got in touch with family members back home in the Punjab Region of India to share the good news. "My dad started crying loudly, really loud. I could not believe it," said Sukh. "And then I called my brother and I was like, 'I got my registration.' And he was so happy."

Another way of celebrating included visiting temple, where she brought some treats to pass around and shared the good news.

But she's saving the news for her mom, when Kaur goes on a planned trip to visit family in India. "I want to tell her in person, and say, 'here, this is my biggest achievement.'"

Page last reviewed March 25, 2022