My name is Ken. I am an internationally educated nurse living in Manitoba, Canada. 

My Canadian journey began when my family and I came to Manitoba more than ten years ago. Though this journey required some sacrifices, especially for my parents, I can say that it has definitely been worthwhile.

I graduated from the University of Santo Tomas in Manila with a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing. When I arrived in Manitoba, my main focus was to get my credentials recognized by the College of Registered Nurses of Manitoba. It’s a rigorous process but after several months I successfully obtained my Manitoba RN license and started my career in Canada as a nurse. Since then I’ve had the privilege of working in various clinical, leadership, and volunteer roles in Manitoba.

My first nursing job in Canada was at Manitoba’s largest hospital, Health Sciences Centre Winnipeg (HSC). I started in an acute medicine clinical teaching unit and from there, completed additional education to work at the hospital’s surgical intensive care unit (SICU). I provided critical care nursing to trauma, neurosurgical, surgical, and burn patients. I also had the opportunity to be a clinical education facilitator for third year nursing students from the University of Manitoba, a role that allowed me to teach and facilitate the integration of theory and clinical practice.  

Along the way, I completed my Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry at the University of Winnipeg as well as my Master’s degree in Business Administration (MBA) from the Asper School of Business at the University of Manitoba.

Over the years, I moved into management roles where I led and managed different clinical programs, including long-term care, personal care, and critical care. My unique combination of education and experience opened doors for me and I was proud to become the first civilian senior officer of the Communications division with the Winnipeg Police Service. In this role I was responsible for 9-1-1 and digital communications systems.

Today, I am CancerCare Manitoba’s Chief of Clinical Operations, a role that allows me to improve cancer services in Manitoba and the experience of Manitobans burdened with cancer. 

Throughout my career, I have believed in doing my ordinary duties extraordinarily well with not only competence but also compassion and commitment. This mindset, in a province of countless opportunities, creates an ideal environment for success.

Manitoba is a place where you can find a sense of belonging amongst a diverse and multicultural population. The diversity here offers many opportunities to learn about different cultures, customs, and ways of life, and creates a unique and exciting environment to grow and thrive.

The communities here are large enough to offer many affordable options for where you want to live and enjoy life’s pleasures and small enough to feel like family. The community’s support means anyone new to Manitoba doesn’t have to feel alone. It’s a place where people are friendly, welcoming, and always willing to lend a hand. 

Manitoba summers are particularly beautiful, and I enjoy every opportunity to be outdoors, hiking, exploring different trails and parks, and spending time with friends and family. Yes, Manitoba is also known for its winters but the changing seasons offer lots to do! Manitoba is the place where you can experience the northern lights, ice skate on river trails, ice fish on frozen lakes, watch hockey games, watch the sunset over the prairies, and so much more.

In my time living and working here I have come to appreciate all that Manitoba has to offer!

This is a place of opportunity for your personal and professional growth and development, whether in your education, career, or personal life. The opportunities here are endless, the communities are vibrant, the nature is pristine, and the quality of life is exceptional. My journey as an internationally educated nurse in Manitoba has been incredible.

As an immigrant, I am proud and grateful for what my family and I have achieved and contributed to the community here in Canada.

As a nurse, I feel privileged for the opportunities I’ve had to contribute my knowledge and perspectives to the improvement of the healthcare system and the best possible care for Manitobans.

I encourage you to come to Manitoba, where your goals and dreams can become a reality.

My name is Elizabeth Pongase and I am one of Manitoba’s Internationally Educated Nurses.

I have worked in the health care field for half of my life, starting as a volunteer nurse at a private 50-bed hospital in the Mindanao area of the Philippines. My desire to enter the field started when I was young, witnessing the financial struggles of my parents. I asked myself ‘who will help my parents?’ That was the thing that drove me and became my upmost reason.

My husband came to Canada first, in 2016, for work and I joined him three years later with our children and applied to Manitoba’s international nursing program shortly after. Currently, I am working as a certified health care aide while I work towards my nursing license through the Internationally Educated Nurse (IEN) program.

My first job as a health care aide was in an acute hospital in Neepawa, Manitoba before moving to a local long-term care facility for a permanent position. As a health care professional in Manitoba, there will always be doors of opportunity wide open for you. There is stable employment, guaranteed hours and a decent wage. Every day, I am given new opportunities to teach skills to new colleagues, learn from others and do what I love.

Though my journey has not been without its challenges, particularly with the English language. In our line of work, it’s important to be caring, compassionate while also proficient in the language. I am grateful for the language support I receive through the IEN program at Red River College.

I love my community because I feel at home here. It is a small enough town for everyone to know one another and greet each other from across the road. I have always found it to be such a welcoming gesture. But we are also a growing community with new homes, stores and a new hospital coming soon.

After three years apart, I am grateful to be in one place with my family. But my path will continue to mean hard work towards my nursing license so that I may bring my mother here and then, later, my sister. It’s always been about bringing them here to be with us. And doing that is possible, here in Canada.

I encourage you to come to Manitoba, Canada and experience all that the province has to offer, such as good cost of living, beautiful outdoor landscapes and white Christmases like in the movies! There may be struggles along the way. That is part and parcel to the process. But nothing will come in front of you that you cannot handle. If you are hard-working and industrious, you will be able to achieve whatever your goals are here in Manitoba.

“I was born and raised in northern Manitoba. When I left home to train as a nurse in Winnipeg I thought I might travel to work elsewhere but after I graduated, I came home.

I’ve been a nurse for 28 years. I think working up here you get a broader nursing experience than you would many other places. You have an opportunity to handle a wide variety of cases, and it’s really interesting work.

I work in maternity but because it’s a smaller facility, we don’t just work in one area, we’re cross-trained to work in all of them. In my case, I can work in labour and delivery, obstetrical triage, pre and post-partum care, and also in the nursery where we manage intermediate care and sometimes higher risk babies. I’ve been fortunate to be able to work in all of these areas throughout my career.

The opportunity to work in the north gives you exposure to a lot of different scenarios. It’s such a great experience and you’re never alone to figure things out. The team up here has your back and there’s always someone to help or talk you through a particular case.

We are a close-knit group, not only with our nursing colleagues but with the physicians, dietician, housekeeping and so on. It’s a community.

For nurses who come to join our team, either for a few shifts or who decide to come back regularly, it’s a really welcoming environment. For those of us who are from here, we want you to love our home town so it’s not unusual for visiting nurses to be invited out for after-work activities. There’s something to be said for northern hospitality! The north is my home and I love it up here.

My family loves the outdoors and the north offers endless adventure just minutes from town. In the summer, there are nearby locations great for camping and fishing. There are a lot of good trails for hiking or ATV’ing. And in the winter, we bundle up to snowmobile, ice fish, or even hit the slopes at the nearby ski hill!

The north is my home and I love it up here.”

– Shannon Lindstrom, Nurse, Thompson, Man.

Dr. Savanna McKay grew up and graduated from high school in Swan River. She completed medical school at Northern Ontario School of Medicine in Thunder Bay, ON. and she completed her Family Medicine Residency through the University of Manitoba in the Parkland program.

“I chose to move back to Swan River to practice because of all the outdoor recreational activities available throughout all four seasons, including boating, camping, kayaking, hiking, snowmobiling, skiing and much more…”

Dr. McKay has been practicing since July 2017 in Swan River. Her clinic is located at the Swan Valley Primary Care Centre. When Dr. McKay is not in the clinic she is busy seeing inpatients and working shifts in the emergency department at the local hospital.

“One of the many benefits of working in Rural Manitoba is that the relatively new clinic and hospital are great facilities to work and the clinic has a very supportive group of colleagues to work with.”

During the interview, Dr. McKay indicated that rural life offered many benefits, such as; great outdoor recreation opportunities and quiet rural living very supportive communities (lots of fundraisers for medical equipment, etc.).

Dr. McKay stated that, she doesn’t have to wait to go on vacation to have fun, explore and enjoy outdoor recreational activities, instead she enjoys the fact that all these luxuries are available every day after work and weekend within close distance.

Family Medicine Physician

“Having grown in up rural Manitoba and being familiar with the friendly nature of small town living, it was an easy decision to pursue rural medicine. I have worked in Treherne for nearly three years and feel I was well prepared by Manitoba’s rural residency program for the work environment that exists in a smaller community. Our work entails a broad scope of practice, and we are challenged to problem-solve and enhance our knowledge on a daily basis.

My colleagues and I derive a lot of satisfaction from the opportunity to provide continuity of care to our patients. To develop a relationship and help them navigate the health-care system is truly gratifying.”

Family Medicine Physician

Dr. Fortier is the VP Medical Services/Vice-Président – Services Médicaux, Assistant Professor, for the University of Manitoba and works in Southern Health-Santé Sud.

He states that working and living in a rural community like Southern Health-Santé Sud allowed him to practice family medicine as it was always intended to be – the full spectrum from babies to seniors and everything in between.

Some of that involved offering primary care, emergency care and acute care services. Dr. Fortier indicates that,

“There is something really rewarding to fully understanding the patient in the context of their family within the context of their community.”

VP Medical Services / Vice-Président – Services Médicaux
Assistant Professor, the University of Manitoba

South Africa was home to Dr. Carine Minders where she also trained and practiced Family Medicine along-side her father Dr. Louis Minders.

Carine, with her parents decided to move to Canada just over a year ago and looks forward to her younger brother relocating to Canada in the near future.

“Canada is truly an amazing country with multiple different cultures and nationalities working towards a common goal”.

Dr. Minders says it was easy to embrace Canada as her new home because she found there were no cultural barriers and English was her first language.

She chose Manitoba because she knew another South African doctor working in Brandon and as a result, Dr. Minders currently works as a full time Hospitalist at Brandon Regional Health Centre, which also includes some shifts in the Emergency department.

“I knew very little about the different provinces in Canada, but after living here for just over a year now, I would choose Manitoba again! I cannot say enough good things about the hospital and I consider all the people there as my new and opted extended family. There is a special atmosphere of camaraderie when you walk through the doors in the morning and I am happy to be at work every day.”

Dr. Minders looks forward to starting a new Trans Health Clinic in Brandon this spring, stating that she was extremely proud to be part of such a wonderful health system. She indicated that she was able to practice first class evidence-based medicine to all people regardless of their financial background. Dr. Minders can focus on providing the best healthcare for each and every patient without first checking if their health care plan allows me to do so. I am proud that we can also practice a lot of preventative care and we have proper screening guidelines.

“I think family practice in Canada has allowed me to do what I truly believe in: Holistic patient care. Manitoba has a reputation for being the friendliest province, and I can testify to that as ”being fact.”

Family Medicine Physician

Amber Chrisp is a health-care aide working in Flin Flon’s emergency department. It’s a role that keeps her busy and fulfilled, providing her with a strong sense that she is making a difference in her community, each and every day.

Caring for others has always come naturally for Amber Chrisp. A single mother to three boys, she was looking for a career that was both meaningful and that would support her family. Born and raised in Flin Flon, Chrisp found the perfect fit working as a health-care aide (HCA). The role allows her to make a difference in the lives of patients and their families right at home in her own community.

“I’ve been a health-care aide for the past 24 years and would not change a thing. From the smiles on patient’s faces to the hugs I’ve received, it has always made me feel grateful for having the opportunity to work in such a fulfilling field.”

Health-care aides support many different areas within the health care system. Chrisp began her career working in a long-term care facility and then moved into a hospital setting, working in an acute medicine/pediatric unit. For the past five years, Chrisp has been working full time in Flin Flon’s General Hospital Emergency Department, an important member of a multidisciplinary team of Registered Nurses, Licensed Practical Nurses, Emergency Physicians and a Respiratory Therapist.

“No two days are ever alike, it’s such an exciting career.” I chose the emergency department to challenge myself in a new area of health care.”

Navigating the fast-paced and often high-pressure environment of an emergency department is challenging, but Amber remains a patient and calm support for those in need of care, offering a comforting word or a hand to hold as she goes about her daily tasks

“We see patients in all levels of acuity, and every day I am inspired to better myself to provide the best level of care I can to help my patients in their healing process.”

As a team player, Chrisp understands the value her role brings to a patient’s overall health care experience. Transporting patients, assisting physicians with procedures, preparing suture trays, sanitizing rooms for safety, and using her CPR training to perform chest compressions during emergency codes are just some of the activities that Amber is trained to support. While some days are more difficult than others, Chrisp always gives 110 per cent to her patients, helping them stay calm in stressful situations and ensuring they are well taken care of during their stay.

“I pride myself on being able to help the team and our patients anyway I can within my scope of practice to make each patient’s experience a positive one.”

Health Care Aide

“It’s the patients, that relationship with them. Knowing that I helped encourage somebody, anybody, to push through and find their strength in a time where it’s near impossible to, because it’s easier to stay in the dark than it is to see the light.”

Health Care Aide

Ran An graduated in July 2020 and began practicing as a Physician Assistant (PA) at St. Boniface Hospital Cardiac Sciences.

“I was a registered nurse for seven years and worked on a vascular surgery unit and ICU. I worked with multiple PAs who exposed me to the profession, and it allowed me to see there was an opportunity to expand my career.”

Cardiac Sciences includes cardiac surgery and cardiology, so most of Ran’s patients have had major cardiac events or deterioration of their heart function. A typical day for Ran begins with a review of the patient load for the day, what patient issues occurred overnight, what patient issues need to be addressed that day and what challenges there may be to send a patient home. This review forms the basis of developing a plan for the day for each patient, including ordering appropriate investigations, prescribing medications, and collaborating with other allied health-care teams. She also assists with admitting new patients to the ward by conducting patient histories and physicals.

“Starting my career as a PA during COVID-19 certainly heightened my awareness of the need for personal protective equipment and the importance of wearing it properly to prevent transmission of the virus. As well, keeping up-to-date with COVID infection prevention and control is paramount for the safety of our patients and their families as well as for our own safety and the safety of our families.”

An feels privileged to be working with cardiac patients.

“This was the right career choice for me. Any cardiac event is always life-changing for the patient and I am proud to play a role in their care in the hospital as well as helping them make choices that will lead to their well-being when they leave the hospital.”

Physician Assistant

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