Introducing… a project manager for nurse integration

Introducing… a project manager for nurse integration

Daniela Beckford is the project manager for the Internationally Educated Nurse and English as a Second Language Nurse Integration Project initiative at Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS). Since 2009, this project has helped registered nurses and registered practical nurses fully integrate into our hospitals and other healthcare organizations. She has been with HHS for 15 years. Daniela was also a recent nominee of the Pat Mandy Inclusion Award.

What do you love most about your role?

My HHS family has felt like my adopted family. This includes project participants, mentors, and academic and community partners. I like how we made a difference in the lives of close to 800 new internationally educated nurses in Canada since this project began. We helped them get a job and integrate their work in the Ontario healthcare system. What I love most is that, every day, I can help and support people. Not just with the clinical aspects of nursing roles but also help them to integrate in the community where they are now living. We are also thrilled to see we have become part of these participants’ families and are there to share their successes, failures and major life events. I also get tremendous support from our front-line staff to senior leadership, making my job that much more enjoyable.

We made a difference in the lives of close to 800 new internationally educated nurses in Canada since this project began in 2009.

What do you find challenging?

We have a small team dedicated to this project and we’ve adapted it to accommodate the needs of our participants. The main challenge is being available to provide emotional support to people who are out there earning a basic living before entering the nursing profession. This can be a 24 hour job for me. Knowing I can be helpful to our participants in every circumstance makes this job worth it.

Describe a typical day.

I wear a few hats in my role. I can be a teacher, a job coach, a manager and an ambassador for our program. Mainly, I teach several different interventions of our Community Collaboration Employment Model (CCEM) and will work with clinical integrators on rolling out our activities. One day I might teach the basics of job hunting like how to create a resume or do a mock interview session with participants. I will meet with new people entering the program as well as reach out to hiring managers. It’s about creating the perfect match for each participant with the jobs that are available. I will also spend time to promote and disseminate the project and its model to other healthcare organizations. No day is boring.

The Internationally Educated Nurse and English as a Second Language Nurse Integration Project won the provincial Champion of Diversity Award.

Tell us about your most gratifying experience at HHS.

I am so proud of how far the integration project has come in a decade, including some of the recognition we received. This year, HHS won the provincial Champion of Diversity Award for Business Leadership in Immigrant Employment. We also won the HR Summit Award for the Employer Champion of Internationally Educated Professionals in 2012. I’m also grateful for the government’s continued guidance and support of nurse integration into the Ontario healthcare workforce.

What’s one thing people would be surprised to learn about your role?

The project team and its partners developed a CCEM for bridging the gap for internationally educated nurses. It is unique to Ontario hospitals and possibly throughout Canada. I believe HHS is a leader and a pioneer in supporting these nurses and developing a culturally diverse workforce.

The Government of Ontario, Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration, has funded Hamilton Health Sciences’ Internationally Educated Nurse and English as a Second Language Nurse Integration Project for the period, 2009-2018, with renewed funding for April 1, 2018 to March 31, 2021.