Friday, September 1, 2017

Delays put nursing grads in career limbo; patient care at risk, students say

Ontario nursing students say a delay in receiving exam results and licenses is costing some recent grads new jobs, and could be impacting patient care.
The College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO) has acknowledged the issue, posting a notice on their website on August 2nd that reads: “We are experiencing a delay in sending applicants the official results of their NCLEX or jurisprudence exams. The delay is caused by an upgrade to our systems, which will allow us to provide more efficient services in the future.”
“I think its completely unacceptable,” says Jennifer Forsythe, a recent University of Toronto nursing graduate. “The CNO is the regulatory body for the entire province. This is one of their most basic tasks and it’s affecting thousands of nursing grads across the province.”
Forsythe says many of her classmates have been waiting weeks for a process that usually only takes about 15 days, and some had job offers threatened to be rescinded as a result of the delay.
After multiple calls and emails to the CNO, Forsythe says she finally received confirmation that her exam results were mailed out Tuesday. Once she receives them in the mail, she will still have to apply for her license.
“I’m starting work on September 5th and until I get my license I’ll be employed as a clinical intern which means my pay gets cut in half,” she explains.
In a statement to CityNews the college apologized for the delay, saying the outstanding exams results have now been sent out.
“They should receive these results within the next few days,” writes CNO communications coordinator Angela Smith. “We have caught up with the backlog we were experiencing. We acknowledge that some people had to wait longer than normal for these results; we did prioritize resolving this issue as quickly as possible.”
She further adds that the upgrades were necessary to add more self-serve functions to their website.
The University Health Network, which oversees four downtown Toronto health centres, says it is aware of the delays, but isn’t directly impacted, noting that if new hires have yet to receive their license they would have postponed orientation.
“That’s affecting my unit, the staffing on the unit,” says Forsythe. “They’re hiring nurses for a reason and if we can’t start work that’s only going to affect patients in the end.”