This past March, Providence Health Care (PHC) in Vancouver was selected by Mediacorp Canada Inc. as one of the 35 Best Employers for New Canadians for 2011, a designation that recognizes the nation’s best employers for recent immigrants. A great achievement, to be sure, but even more so considering this is the fourth year in a row that PHC has been given this honour.
As one of Canada’s largest faith-based health care organizations, Providence Health Care’s mission, vision and values respect the diversity, dignity and interdependence of all persons. This is expressed not only in the compassionate care provided to patients and residents, but is also reflected in the organization’s initiatives and programs that assist employees who are transitioning to life in Canada.
PHC was recognized in 2011 for its progressive work policies, educational and training opportunities and competitive compensation that assist new Canadians in making the transition to a new workplace and a new life in Canada, with specific focus on internationally-trained nurses.
“It is a great honour for Providence to be recognized once again as an organization that leads the way in recruiting foreign health care workers,” says Dianne Doyle, PHC’s President and CEO. “We are committed to continue working towards our goal of becoming a diversity leader in Canada and the employer of choice for talented new Canadian health care workers. At Providence, we work hard to create a positive experience and a supportive work environment where employees of all backgrounds can excel and realize their full potential.”
PHC helps new Canadians adjust to their new roles with a number of programs and resources. There is a dedicated webpage aimed at international applicants that notifies them of the steps required to have their foreign qualifications evaluated by a provincially recognized evaluation service.
When considering overseas or newly immigrated applicants, PHC recognizes foreign experience and make attempts to honour it when determining starting wage rate. For example, if a Registered Nurse had worked for five years in a regular full-time nursing position with no breaks in service, he or she would start at the corresponding pay step at PHC. Providence also recognizes both education and experience. For example, if an applicant has less education but solid work experience, their application may be considered equally with more educated applicants.
PHC offers settlement services to help ease the transition for internationally recruited staff coming to work at PHC. Upon accepting employment, new staff members receive a relocation allowance and are paired up with a relocation agent who will help them with housing, community services and schools upon their arrival to Canada.
Mentoring initiatives are a key area of support for new support, and especially those who are new to Canada. PHC’s “on boarding” program consists of an organization-wide new employee orientation as well as unit-specific and job-specific orientation sessions that are up to a week long. When training specifically for their roles, new employees are given “buddy” or “shadow” shifts, where they follow and are mentored by a senior staff member. If necessary, new employees who are recent immigrants are supported with extended shadow shifts and mentoring to gain confidence and better understand the Canadian workplace.
The Diversity Services department at Providence facilitates and supports health care delivery in a diverse workplace and multicultural environment by providing education, developing resource and training materials and conducting workshops and lectures on cultural competence in health care. New Canadians coming to work in a multicultural environment for the first time especially benefit by learning about the needs of the diverse patient population that PHC serves.
In addition, PHC’s Mission Services department and Pastoral Care Services regularly organize special events around different cultural and religious holidays throughout PHC sites to create awareness and appreciation for the different cultures represented among PHC staff.
“At Providence Health Care, our guiding principle ‘How you want to be treated’ extends beyond the realm of care to patients and residents, says Eileen Evens, Lead Recruitment Advisor, Human Resources. “This is how we treat our staff, too.”
PHC operates one of two adult academic health science centres in the province, performs cutting-edge research in more than 30 clinical specialties, and focuses its services on six “populations of emphasis”: cardio-pulmonary risks and illnesses, HIV/AIDS, mental health, renal risks and illness, specialized needs in aging and urban health.