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Chandra Kafle: An internationally educated nurse (IEN) who found her place at Sunnybrook

Chandra at Sunnybrook
Written by Lindsay Smith

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, where the support and encouragement she received helped empower her along the way. Chandra found her way to Sunnybrook while she was completing a program called “Academic Pathway for Nurses.” Following the completion of the 12 theory courses, she received a clinical placement in Sunnybrook’s K-Wing.

“I was really impressed with the opportunities for staff and for students,” says Chandra. “I knew I wanted to work for Sunnybrook.”

Chandra passed her Registered Practical Nurse (RPN) exam in May 2014. In order to meet the requirements to become a Registered Nurse (RN) in Ontario, Chandra enrolled in a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BScN) degree program while working part time at Sunnybrook’s Holland Centre.

She was a full-time student, a part-time RPN at the Holland Centre and also mom to a young child. Chandra says that time had its challenging moments.

“Because I did the program while I was working, one (challenge) was time management and then sometimes having the feeling that you are not there with your child all the time,” she says. “Finding the right balance between family life and my professional life was a little bit challenging.”

But Chandra was able to meet those challenges, complete her BScN and its requirements, and begin her career in Ontario as an RN on one of Sunnybrook’s cardiology units. Sponsored by the hospital, she was also able to complete a specialized critical care training program.

Today, Chandra is about to finish her Masters in Nursing, with a focus on leadership and health policy, and she is working as an interim Advanced Practice Nurse (APN), a leadership role she’s enjoying.

“I love it. I love teaching, learning new things, so I love this role,” she says. “I had limited knowledge regarding the role and responsibilities of an APN when I started in the position, but I had so much support from my colleagues; they helped me feel ready to take on the role.”

Watch: What it’s like to work in nursing at Sunnybrook

She says she didn’t know at the outset that it would be such a lengthy process to become an RN and complete her masters in nursing in Ontario, but even during the challenging times, her commitment to her education and the support she received kept her pressing forward.

“What kept me going was motivation from my family and my hunger for education and continuous growth,” says Chandra. “And I am so lucky that I am here at Sunnybrook. I got so much support from my peers, from managers and from the organization. That support has helped me grow personally and professionally and led me to where I am today.”

Are you an internationally educated nurse looking for more information?

The Sunnybrook Internationally Educated Nurse (IEN) Career Pathway helps IENs optimize the use of their specialized skills and expertise in the Canadian workforce by supporting quality patient care. For IENs who are eligible to work in Ontario, the pathway helps IENs transition successfully along a continuum of hospital roles into nursing roles.

Learn more about the Internationally Educated Nurse (IEN) pathway at Sunnybrook »

About the author

Lindsay Smith