Retired nurse says licence fees are keeping her from returning to work

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Corry said she contacted CARNA right away to get the ball rolling.

“When I contacted CARNA, they want 100 bucks right away just to activate my file again,” she said. “That’s prior to them filling in the update I need to get my licence back.”

She was told there would be a further $656 fee to re-register, if she did get a job offer.

It has put her off from applying for a job knowing the fees, which were much too high for her, would await her if she was successful.

“I’m on a pension,” said Corry. “I certainly don’t feel I should be financially constrained from volunteering to come back to work.”

She said she’s shocked that there isn’t a fast-track program to get retired nurses back doing basic things such as swabbing noses and administering vaccines.

“I’m not applying to work in ICU,” she said. “Give me a break. I worked for 37 years. I can give injections in my sleep.”

Corry said she understands there are legal and liability reasons why she needs to be licensed, but she doesn’t think there should be financial barriers to getting re-licensed.

CARNA, the regulatory body for registered nurses in Alberta, is responsible for ensuring they meet legislated and regulatory requirements, and are licensed to practise.

A spokesperson for CARNA said the body is granting retired nurses who return to work temporary three-month licences, but would not say how much those licences cost.

“In response to the need for qualified nurses during the COVID-19 pandemic, CARNA offered emergency practice permits to former nurses, identified by employers as possessing the competencies to serve in a variety of capacities in the healthcare setting, for a three-month period,” said David Kay, CARNA’s chief professional conduct officer, in an email.

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