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peopleCare Brings Internationally Educated Nurses to Meaford LTC

March 23, 2023

It has always been Kerl Ocampo’s dream to live and work in Canada.

On a cold winter’s day this February, he saw his dream come to life as his plane landed in Ontario. Born in the tropical Philippines, one of the first things Ocampo did was reach down to pick up some snow.

Kerl Ocampo at Meaford LTC

Kerl Ocampo at Meaford LTC.

“It was my first time seeing it,” he says. “It was amazing to feel it in my hands!”

Ocampo is the first of 30 internationally educated nurses (IENs) that peopleCare has hired to join the team and provide care at our new Meaford long-term care (LTC) Home.

So far, three IENs have completed orientation and are settling into their new roles. As we support them in completing the required 450 clinical hours to qualify for their nursing license in Ontario, all will practice as personal support workers (PSWs), providing personal care and help with activities of daily living for our residents.

With Ontario facing health human resource challenges, creating and contributing to sustainable solutions is a peopleCare priority. Bringing IENs on board is a key element of our overall plan to increase our staff complement as we continue to build and redevelop new and larger LTC Homes.

Aligned with local partnerships and strategies to welcome and retain IENs – which set them up for long-term success so they can make a life here in Canada – solutions like these also have the potential to become new leading practices for recruitment in LTC.

Working with community partners, peopleCare is helping connect the IENs with government, social and newcomer services and supports. Not to mention local spiritual and service clubs and organizations based on their interests.

“I’m looking forward to getting involved with the local church community,” says Ocampo. “I want to raise my future children here.”

Krisma Tactay (left) and Ruzel Tria at Meaford LTC.

Krisma Tactay (left) and Ruzel Tria at Meaford LTC.

Ruzel Tria, who arrived earlier this month, also hopes to make a life for her family in Ontario.

“I’m doing this for my nine-year-old daughter,” says Tria. “I’m a single mom – my mother is taking care of her until, hopefully, someday I can bring her over. They’re all rooting for me.”

Krisma Tactay says her family played a big part in her decision to take the opportunity with peopleCare. The big move was immediately worth it for Tactay when visited her sister in Toronto just days after arriving in Meaford.

“We reunited after five years of being apart,” she says. “She was the one who paid my college fees to become a nurse. I’m so happy we can see each other in Canada now.”

More IENs will continue to arrive in Meaford throughout the Spring. Some have LTC experience, while others offer unique backgrounds in psychiatric nursing, ICU bedside care, radiology and other crucial areas of healthcare.

Bethany Rupp, Executive Director at Meaford LTC, says that in addition to being well-educated, experienced and caring, the IENs have a positive attitude, and are willing to jump in and learn. They’re also proving to be amazing assets in providing great care to our residents.

“I’ve heard nothing but positive feedback about these newest team members from everyone here at the Home.”

Recognizing the housing shortage in southern Ontario, especially in rural communities, peopleCare has arranged temporary housing in one location nearby the LTC Home. Living together is making it easier for the IENs to support one another as they adjust. They have even established a Facebook group to connect with the IENs who are yet to arrive.

“It’s awesome to see them fitting in so well,” says Rupp. “They already feel like a part of the team, as if they’ve been here for years.”