Former Sault nurse wants to return to profession, but says there are too many roadblocks

A former nurse in Sault Ste. Marie says she is willing to re-enter the profession to help with Ontario's nursing shortage. But she says regulatory roadblocks are holding up her application to have her license reinstated.

The Ontario government recently announced a plan to deploy internationally educated nurses to hospitals dealing with staffing shortages. But Natalie Gauthier said she's been trying for the past year to have her nursing license – which expired less than five years ago – reinstated.

However, Gauthier said the process outlined by the Ontario College of Nurses of Ontario makes that difficult. She'd like to see the reinstatement process simplified.

"A written test to know that we actually have the knowledge still within our skillset (and) to know what area of practice you want to help out in," said Gauthier, who also takes issue with a requirement that she complete 140 hours of unpaid training.

"Job shadowing would be great -- as long as the nurse would be paid," said Gauthier. "Because they are putting in the work. We don't want to exploit those nurses, as well."

The College of Nurses of Ontario declined an interview request from CTV News. In a written statement, the college had this to say:

"This regulatory function is our commitment to the public that anyone who identifies themselves as a nurse in Ontario has the knowledge, skill and judgment needed to provide safe and ethical nursing care."

The college said all applicants – domestic and international – must demonstrate their credentials before obtaining nursing certification.

Gauthier, meantime, said she's still waiting for word on her application for reinstatement.