CARE Centre for Internationally Educated Nurses (IENs) annually presents the Joan Lesmond IEN of the Year Awards, recognizing a member Registered Nurse (RN) and a member Registered Practical Nurse (RPN) who have overcome many challenges to achieve their Ontario nursing license, returning to their profession to contribute to the betterment of healthcare in this province.
This year’s RPN IEN of the Year is Michael Dane Quilana, a nurse originally from the Philippines who practiced in Italy before immigrating to Canada. Michael is currently working with the Nursing Resource Team at North York General Hospital (NYGH) in an RN role.
“I have been through a lot of challenges just to make sure that I can keep practicing a profession that I love and feel passionate about,” says Michael. “With strong faith, resilience, and persistence, I worked to fulfill my dream – from being a live-in caregiver, personal support worker and getting my RPN License. My nursing career started during the height of the pandemic, when everyone was fearful of the unknown. I knew I had to step up; I couldn’t just watch from the sidelines. Being a nurse is more than just a job, it is a commitment to our patients, to health care organizations like NYGH to have our colleagues’ backs when things get tough. This is due to the commitment that I etched in my heart and mind when I took the oath to become a nurse.”
Michael was nominated by Edsel Mutia, an RN at North York General, who was the third recipient of the Joan Lesmond Award in 2013. Last year’s award winner in the RN category was another NYGH nurse, Amina Malick, who is a Clinical Nurse Educator in the Ambulatory and Cancer Care Program.
“Our Internationally Educated Nurses (IENs) are valued members of our team, who bring unique experiences and skillsets to enhance the care we provide to our patients, families, and diverse communities,” says Dr. Everton Gooden, President and CEO of North York General. “We are thrilled to partner with CARE Centre for Internationally Educated Nurses and are proud to see Michael receive this prestigious award. Having three NYGH nurses win the IEN of the Year Award over the years is a true reflection of NYGH’s commitment to exceptional care.”
“In this 12th year of presenting the Joan Lesmond IEN of the Year Awards, we again had a selection of nominees who are all exceptional nurses, having faced so many challenges on their journey to registration. All the candidates went on to re-establish rewarding nursing careers, contributing to the nursing profession in the special ways only internationally educated nurses can,” says the Joan Lesmond IEN of the Year Awards Selection Committee Chair, Dr. Elaine Santa Mina. “We are continually grateful to our employer partners who support CARE Centre member IENs, helping them achieve their dream of full inclusion in the Ontario healthcare system. The Joan Lesmond Award was created to honour both outstanding CARE Centre member nurses, and to acknowledge our committed employer partners who are integral to our nurses’ success. That’s what makes the Joan Lesmond IEN of the Year Award presentations such a moving and satisfying experience.”
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CARE Centre for Internationally Educated Nurses (CARE Centre) is a not-for-profit professional organization funded by the Ontario Government and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. CARE Centre assists IENs to become registered in Ontario and to re-establish rewarding healthcare careers in Canada. Over 5,000 nurses from more than 100 countries have accessed services and supports since the organization was founded in 2001.
In-person services are provided in Toronto, Windsor, London, Niagara, Hamilton, Peel Region and Kingston, and on-line services across Ontario. CARE Centre offers two programs for IENs: STARS (Supports, Training, and Access to Regulated-employment Services) for IENs already resident in Ontario and PASS (Pre-Arrival Supports and Services), which supports IENs accepted for immigration to Canada. CARE Centre is a registered charity accepting tax-deductible donations (Charitable Number 84420 5948 RR0001).
NYGH is a top-ranked academic community hospital affiliated with the University of Toronto that provides high-quality acute, ambulatory, and long-term care to approximately half a million people in one of Toronto’s most diverse and rapidly growing areas and to patients across the GTA. NYGH has been named the number one community academic hospital in Canada for five consecutive years by Newsweek Magazine.