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Internationally Educated Nurse (IEN) pathway at Sunnybrook

Internationally Educated Nurses (IENs) are nurses who have immigrated to Canada bringing with them a variety of skills and expertise. To work as a nurse in Ontario, IENs must successfully meet requirements established by the College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO), the governing body for the nursing profession in Ontario, Canada. To support IENs to meet CNO requirements, Sunnybrook Health Science Centre, one of Canada’s largest academic hospitals, has launched a new IEN Career Pathway. This will help IENs start their careers in health care and transition into registered nursing positions, both RN and RPN positions.

What is the Internationally Educated Nurse (IEN) career pathway?

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Employment opportunities:

  1. Unregulated roles
    Provide health care work experience while supporting gaps in HHR need (observer, patient support provider)

  2. Expanded clinical extern role for IENs
    IENs fulfill clinical extern roles, funded by the Ministry of Health, to create a seamless pathway that enhances cultural integration and achieves employment goals

  3. Recruit into nursing roles

Program components:

  • Cultural integration
  • Language proficiency
  • Nursing skills development
  • Supervised practice experience program
  • Building community

The Sunnybrook IEN Career Pathway facilitates IENs to optimize the use of their specialized skills and expertise in the Canadian workforce by supporting quality patient care and our health-care system at a time of great need. For IENs who are eligible to work in Ontario, the pathway further helps IENs transition successfully along a continuum from hospital roles into nursing roles by supporting cultural integration, language proficiency, and skills development.

Sunnybrook is implementing this program in collaboration with partners including Ontario Health and the College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO). The pathway provides access to a variety of employment opportunities that support IENs to work as members of Sunnybrook’s health-care teams, including roles such as: observers, patient support providers, and clinical externs. Additionally, Sunnybrook is offering the Supervised Practice Experience (SPE) Program which facilitates participants to meet the CNO Language Proficiency and/or Evidence of Practice requirements.

Stories from Sunnybrook IENs


Chandra Kafle

When Chandra Kafle and her family moved to Ontario from Nepal, she had a bachelor’s degree in nursing. She wanted to continue her nursing career in Toronto, so she set out to fulfill the additional educational requirements necessary to practice in Ontario. That journey brought her to Sunnybrook.  

Learn more about Chandra's story »

Anita Damjee

Anita came to Canada in 2012 with a diploma in nursing. Her journey at Sunnybrook started in 2015, when she began to volunteer at the hospital while completing the requirements to become a registered practical nurse (RPN) in Ontario. After completing her requirements, she was hired as an RPN in our Same Day Surgery unit. “Ever since then, Sunnybrook has provided me with so many opportunities to excel in my career,” says Anita.

Learn more about Anita's story »


In the media

Are you interested to join Sunnybrook’s team?

If you are an IEN and are eligible to work in Ontario, Sunnybrook has a number of employment opportunities for you. Please click on the links below for more information, and to apply. For more information, please contact

Please note, job opportunities are posted to our website when openings are available. If there are no postings available for the roles listed below, please check back again at another time.

Observer Role: The Observer is an unregulated health care provider who is primarily responsible for the close observation of patients whose behaviour poses a risk to his/her safety or the safety of others. Passionate about person centred care, the observer engages in restorative care, and provide assistance with activities of daily living to the patient/resident for whom they are observing.

Learn more and apply »

Patient Support Provider: Working with the professional team, the Patient Services Partner participates in the caring of patients by providing a variety of support services to the team and patients. The role includes direct patient care as well as supporting the patient care areas with unit specific support. 

Learn more and apply »

Clinical Extern: Clinical Externs work in collaboration with a Registered Nurse, Registered Practical Nurse, or regulated health professional (RHP) to support patient care activities such as: patient assessments, measuring vital signs, assisting with ambulation and activities of daily living to name a few.

Learn more and apply »

If you are looking for more information about working in Ontario or how to get started, the following links may be helpful: