Well that went well

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No, seriously, arse.

So, for my gleeful hope yesterday that CRNNS would get back to me promptly with an assessment of my qualifications and experience, now they have I kinda wish they hadn’t. Or that I’d’ve had more than half an idea about what they’d’ve grumped about so I could fix it before hand. At least this is a more fixed assessment that they want than BC did.

See, BC said “We’re not happy with your surgical or medical nursing, we’d like you to take an assessment that will take between one and five days, and we’d like you to take it just far enough outside Vancouver that you will have no decent way to use any remaining time you might have over here that isn’t part of the assessment as a holiday. It will cost an amount that varies according to how many days of assessment we decide you need after the first day. After that assessment we’ll decide whether you can sit an exam, or whether you have to do some courses, taught in Canada, that you’ll have to personally attend to be considered good enough to sit an exam to decide if you can register as a nurse”.

Which was painful and unclear, and led to the thought process of ‘this may end up costing an infinite amount of money and there is no guarantee that I can afford it or actually ever meet their requirements’.

Which led to the painful abandonment of the several hundred pounds that it’d cost to get that far, and us deciding to stay here for a few years, get Kathryn permanent residence, and try again either there or somewhere else when we were more ready and had no massive upcoming expenses (Permanent Residence in the UK isn’t cheap).

I was pretty grumpy about that, because I’ve done enough medical and surgical nursing in my opinion. I’m not a specialist in either of those areas, but could adequately look after someone, and flag deterioration, and apply my critical care knowledge to that sort of potentially unwell person. But that’s what they wanted.

This time around, CRNNS have decided that it’s my obstetric nursing that’s not up to scratch and they’d like me to please do a general assessment of my nursing skills. Before they decide if I can take an exam to decide whether I can register as a nurse.

Let me just pause for a minute to say that Nova Scotia says they’d like nurses. And that they’re short of nurses. I don’t for a moment think that means they should just accept anyone, but I’ve 7 years experience working in a reasonably respected healthcare organisation with a MSc in Critical Care and am a specialist in my field. I think, perhaps, they should consider that my obstetrics may not be perfect, and I’m quite willing for them to say ‘come do a refresher course and exam on obstetrics and take the CRNE’ at the same time but no.

No, like the CRNBC they seem to forget that flying to Canada to do these things is not cheap and requires annual leave to be taken of which I do, in fact, have a limited time.

Let’s just pause to remind ourselves of the costs of going to Nova Scotia (where they would like nurses).

($ are all Canadian)
$575 to apply for the assessment.
$310 to get WES to do an assessment of my qualifications.

So that’s basically $900 so far.

To do the in-person assessment of my skills* (on which they decide if I need remedial courses or can just go on to do my exam) will cost a minimum of $900 in airfare. The very cheapest return flight I’ve found is $901 dollars, and rises substantially from there depending on when I go. I’ve no idea how much the assessment costs (I’ve asked yesterday, not yet had an answer) but given the cost of a four hour multiple choice exam I’m not expecting less than $500 – which basically puts the cost of this assessment at nearly $2000 (including hotels, food, etc). And that’s if just I go. If Kathryn goes as well, we’re well into $3000 territory).

Did I mention Nova Scotia would like nurses, they’re short on them.

If I pass that exam, then we get into ‘you can take the CRNE’ which is a mere $600 (at the moment, we’ll be getting on for a year at this point so it may well have gone up). Plus obviously the flight cost – so another $900, plus obviously the hotels and food at around another $5-600. So we’re looking at another minimum $2000.

Which brings us to a minimum grand total of $4,900, or for those of you keeping track in British money, £3,200 at the current exchange rate.

After which, since they provide no sponsorship, we just need to apply for a visa, get a job (possibly vice versa) – Kathryn (while I was grumping about the house yesterday) pointed out that the Provincial Nominee programme appears to be open (it was ‘closed’ last time I looked at it). I’m not sure if I can apply for a visa under that, which I could do now, which would speed things along a bit. Oh, and then we just have to move. *sigh*.

I have to say I’m frustrated (if you’d not gathered). I’d hoped that NS might be a bit more sane, look at my experience and at least give me the opportunity to sit the damn exam without this faffing about before hand.

And it comes down to how committed are we to NS.

Do we want to throw a minimum of another £2700 at a problem that’s taken £600 so far and has no guarantee of success?

Our options boil down to:

– Stay here. As far as I’m concerned that’s not an option. It breaks my heart reading the news about the destruction and privatisation of the NHS, and I, at least, can see where it’s heading. Excellent healthcare for the 1% and the rest of us can get stuffed. A sign saying “Welcome to WonderHealth Bristol – an NHS Franchise, ask us about our deluxe care options”; you know, the options where you get the care you used to get for free. So no. No, I can’t stay here to watch that.
– Knuckle down and spend the £2700 on getting to NS. NS is (well, looks) beautiful, and we can get the kind of property we’d like to have, and the space we’d like our kid/s to grow up in. The main thing attracting us there is the lifestyle and land. At least, that’s what it is for me.
– Go somewhere else. This is restricted by neither of us actually speaking a foreign language, and is such a vague notion that neither of us have particularly explored it…
– Wait and go to the U.S.A. if / when they repeal DOMA, potentially work over there doing non-nursing stuff and I can do the NCLEX there (I think that’s what it’s called) or do the NCLEX over here. Whilst I despise for-profit healthcare, since it’s coming to the UK then perhaps I should just suck it up. There’s quite a few non-profit hospitals in Washington State, so that is a possibility. Of course that does mean waiting – but my understanding from a quick look at the world is that if DOMA is repealed, then we nip across to the US and remarry a third time (If Brandi Carlile can do it, so can we), then I can go in as Kathryn’s spouse.

It’s all very complicated at the moment. I think the NS and USA options are the winners at the moment. I’ve been dreaming of Canada so long that it seems very odd to me to abandon it, especially for the sake of a mere £3000, but a mere £3000 is not a mere anything to us. We don’t have £3000 lying around under the couch cushions. It’s a lot of extra shifts, even at agency rates. But to have the carrot of an easier route out of the UK and the depressing mess it’s making of itself is very tempting. And to be near the awesome friends-of-Kathryn who do seem (every time I’ve met them) to be utterly lovely is also a tempting prospect – especially given my general ineptitude at making new friends.

I’m trying not to feel deeply negative about the whole thing (I did that for several hours yesterday and awoke this morning continuing the negativity), but it’s hard…

…on the plus side, by the time that we can actually make a decision about it (because it’s going to take a while to sort out costs and when I could take the CRNNS tests) the DOMA decision might well be ‘in’ and that will at least let us make a decision with ‘more material facts’.

* Which given that it’s a focussed assessment of my obstetric and midwifery I’ll probably need to do a refresher course on, in which case I’ll do one here before I go, which will cost around £350, potentially, if I do it. This is because in 7 years I’ve been present for 2 births. At both births midwives have been present and really my most important job was doing observations, my second most important job was ‘holding the ultrasound so they can listen for the fetal heartbeat’. The next of these courses is not until November…


Kate's allegedly a human (although increasingly right-wing bigots would say otherwise). She's definitely not a vampire, despite what some other people claim. She's also mostly built out of spite and overcoming oppositional-sexism, racism, and other random bullshit. So she's either a human or a lizard in disguise sent to destroy all of humanity. Either way, she's here to reassure that it's all fine.