New Delhi: An Indian-origin health official is part of a visiting team that is setting up a recruitment desk in Bengaluru to hire Indian nurses for a Canadian province that faces acute labour shortages in its healthcare sector.
Rahul Parayil Girijappan, Director of Critical Care Services with Central Health in Newfoundland and Labrador (NL) province, met graduate nurses who have the academic credentials to qualify for licenses in Canada.
“I am coming to India after three years. I am very much excited to be part of this initiative,” Girijappan, a graduate from Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Science in Bengaluru, told IANS.
Before moving to NL in 2010, he worked as a permanent full-time staff nurse at Grace Medical Centre in India for two years.
“As a leader in the organisation, I know the operational challenges in the system very clearly. We need resources to support the system and robust our workforce, and I hope we can get enough to fill the gaps and meet our demands,” Girijappan told IANS in an email interview.
As part of his job, Girijappan will convince nurses in India that NL is the right place for them to advance as a health-care provider and individual.
He said that he had moved to the province with “mixed emotions”. With most of his friends settled in Canada’s prairie provinces, Girijappan wanted to join them, but the friendly, warm and welcoming nature of the people made him stay back.
He currently lives in Grand Falls-Windsor with his wife and two children. His wife is also a registered nurse with Central Health.
After spending 13 years in Canada, Girijappan said he misses his student life in India the most.
“It’s been almost 13 years in Newfoundland, and it is very hard to express what I miss most about India. I miss my childhood and student life period, the life I lived in Bangalore as a student nurse,” Girijappan told IANS.
“Anyone who leaves home to go there (Canada) as a student always cherishes the dream of advancing their life. I know I am experiencing it now due to the hard work I put forward as a student. I am thankful to my teachers, classmates, parents and family (in India) for all the support they provided at that time,” he added.
Girijappan and his team held a series of meetings last month with officials at St Martha’s College of Nursing, a training institution established in 1933.
They also visited the East West Group of Institutions campus in Bengaluru, where a presentation on health employment opportunities was delivered to more than 100 final-year nursing students.
The NL government will also be launching an email portal to engage with nurses from India who are interested in moving to the province.
According to local media reports, nurses in the NL are struggling with burnout due to overtime, and more than 600 jobs lie vacant.
The nurses’ union in the province says 40 per cent of its members are facing 24-hour shifts and high rates of workplace injury and violence.
NL Premier Andrew Furey said addressing a news conference last month that they chose Karnataka as it has more than 100 nursing schools with training similar to Newfoundland and Labrador’s.
Indian government data shows a sharp rise in the demand for Indian nurses post-Covid from several countries like Ireland, Malta, Germany, the Netherlands, Finland, the UK and Belgium.
After the Philippines, India ranks second in the number of nurses working abroad for brighter job opportunities, better salaries and other benefits.