Pat Bradley

What education strategies and learning environments support Internationally Educated Nurse success during university, registration exams, and in the workplace?

Pat Bradley has a program of research focusing on Internationally Educated Nurses (IENs), competency assessment, and innovative curriculum design and delivery. With funding from the Ontario Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration and International Trade, she and her team are identifying faculty development strategies and exciting new educational techniques, such as digital storytelling, that can help nurses educated in other countries succeed in being registered in Ontario.


Many Internationally Educated Nurses (IENs) live with a family income below the poverty line. A number of them are refugees and have escaped horrific experiences. They are nurses in their heart, and want to be able to work as a Registered Nurse in Ontario. But that journey can be hard; it involves attending university to learn the Canadian system and passing the national registration exam. Through our research on teaching and learning strategies we hope to help IENs on the pathway to success.


We’ve looked at different aspects of the education of IENs and the need is great. It is important for me to be always questioning how and why to support IENs, whose voices may not always be heard.

There is such diversity amongst our students. For example, someone who’s worked for 15 years in the emergency room in the UK has different experiences than someone who’s worked as a midwife in Nigeria. The IENs’ learning needs will necessarily be different, and our teaching strategies must be able to respond to the needs of all students.

We have done work to better understand how to best educate IENs about healthcare in Ontario and address cultural issues, which is so important when they are in the workplace and providing care to patients. The other side of the equation is how we can best support faculty to adapt to a diverse group of learners. Part of our research on faculty development involves simulation research, for instructors to enhance their educational strategies through simulated teaching experiences.


Collaboration with other educators and community leaders has helped make my research successful. Collaborations build strength. They have pushed me to consider other angles, and go deeper in exploring the breadth of possibilities. This research has also helped me develop new relationships within the province and the country. I have been able to present my work internationally, where some of this research is not being done, so it has opened many doors and started many conversations.

Engaging Students

IENs are both our students and participants in our research. The results are always presented back to them. I think they’ve benefitted from participating in the research because they see research and evidence as integral parts of nursing in Canada.

What’s Next?

In a future project I would like to look at the transition IENs make after registration when they move into the workforce. This might involve hearing from IENs about the challenges they face, and looking at strategies to help with that transition.