In 1994, I graduated from St.Lawrence College with Distinction as a Registered Nurse. Over the years, I have worked locally & in the USA specializing in four areas; Critical Care, Operating Room, Post Anesthetic Care Room & Hemo-Dialysis units.
Recently, I resigned from the Cornwall Community Hospital due to the inability to obtain full-time employment or advancement in my career. My obstacle being that I am English only and not bilingual (English and French). There is a systemic problem with unfair language requirements in healthcare in my hometown of Cornwall, ON. This is worrisome to me on several levels. Are the most qualified healthcare professionals being hired? Are people in our community getting the highest quality healthcare they deserve? And finally, what is our government doing to protect the rights of English speakers?
My children are enrolled in French Immersion; but at the end of the day will they be deemed “French” enough to garner a good job? Will they benefit from this social engineering? An RN must speak A- French to work at Cornwall Community Hospital. An RN must be bilingual to work at Community Care Access Centre. When an RN must be bilingual to administer a Flu shot, and yet, at the same time, life-saving CPR training is only considered an asset for employment at the Eastern Ontario Health Unit; I ask, where do we draw the line?
I am thankful to have my New York State Nursing licence. I am currently employed at a hospital in New York State as a Full-time Nursing Supervisor. However, many professionals in our community are not so fortunate and are forced to either relocate or give up their careers, entirely. Sadly, highly educated nursing graduates from St.Lawrence College will never have the opportunity to work in their own community, due to this unfair language legislation.
Recently, a group of concerned citizens formed a non-profit organization; Language Fairness for ALL. Our goal is to promote fair hiring practices. If you are concerned about your future, your childrens’ futures or your grandchildrens’ futures, I urge you to support LFA. Together we can make a difference!
Debbie Cameron RN
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