Shelley Stanhope-Goodman and Pamela Nordstrom

Substantially Equivalent Competency Assessment of Internationally Educated Nurses - A Means of Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition

Shelley Stanhope-Goodman, Pamela M. Nordstrom


Potential for employment as a registered nurse in Canada continues to spark interest in internationally educated nurses (IENs). In Alberta, Mount Royal University (MRU) and the provincial RN regulatory authority work closely to ensure IENs have the preparation to provide safe, ethical and competent care.  The Mount Royal University IEN Assessment Centre has completed over 1200 competency assessments through a Substantially Equivalent Competency (SEC) assessment, designed to determine if an IEN has the appropriate foundational knowledge, skills and attributes for RN practice in Canada.  To maintain the standards of practice between internationally educated nurses and Canadian educated nurses, the SEC assessment provides IENs the opportunity to demonstrate their capacity for Canadian RN practice in a way that complements evidence provided in their paper documentation.  MRU’s competency assessment that recognized prior learning and experiences is a critical tool of access to the RN profession for IENs and the professional regulator. 

Key words: internationally educated nurses (IENs), international health workers, competency assessment, prior learning, assessment and recognition (PLAR)

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