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McMaster projects receive funding to improve nursing workforce diversity in Ontario

Jun 22, 2018

Andrea Baumann

Professor Andrea Baumann and her research team at McMaster University have received provincial funding to provide evidence to improve workforce planning and provision of care in Ontario. The projects focus on building a health care workforce that mirrors the diversity of its patients. The team’s objective is to use their research to help inform policy and employment practices that will support a workforce that is responsive to the health care needs of Canada’s multicultural population.

The team has received funding from the Ontario Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration for the project "The Hurdle of Employment: Integrating Internationally Educated Nurses into Ontario’s Workforce", which builds on earlier work that identified barriers to employment for internationally educated nurses (IENs). This project aims to assist IENs in overcoming the final ‘hurdle’ of employment placement by increasing the uptake and integration of licensed IENs who are ready to enter practice in Ontario. The team will work closely with health care employers and IENs throughout the province and match work-ready IENs to employers hiring nurses.

An additional grant from the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care identifies policies that impact the provision of patient care across the province. 

There has been a consistent effort to engage healthcare regulators, assessors, and employers, as well as local communities, educational institutions, NGOs, and the government. The most recent grant will focus on healthcare employers in Ontario to further understand demographic changes and employment patterns in the province.

According to Baumann, the solution to delivering quality care lies in a diverse full-time healthcare workforce. “For immigrants to Canada, language and culture are significant barriers that can impede access to quality health care,” she says. “Patients are more likely to receive quality care when they share culture, ethnicity, race, and/or language with their healthcare providers.”

Baumann explains that planning for future care is complex and involves more than diversity alone. “It’s also about having a well-balanced nursing workforce in terms of age and skill set,” she says. 

Further research is being conducted to examine changes in the workforce over time, including the impact of investments and potential economic downturns, which can affect the numbers and makeup of the workforce required across all health care sectors.

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