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Embracing Diversity and Empowering Internationally Educated Nurses through SIENNA

By Ronald Eugene Osea, DNP, MSN, RN

On International Nurses Day, May 12, 2023, it was essential to celebrate and recognize the invaluable contributions of nurses to our healthcare systems (Catton, 2022). This day was also an opportunity to spotlight the Society of Internationally Educated Nurses in North America (SIENNA), which happened to hold its official virtual launch on May 13, 2023. SIENNA supports internationally educated nurses by providing resources and opportunities for growth. The membership offered access to licensure, certification guidance, and professional development events. SIENNA promotes nursing workforce integration and culturally competent patient care. In the words of AAN Living Legend, Dr. Franklin Shaffer during his keynote speech, “This organization has the potential to significantly impact the nursing profession globally.”

Internationally educated nurses or IENs are crucial for North American healthcare. They brought diversity and cultural competency and filled staffing gaps (Al-Sabei et al., 2020). Research showed IENs provided quality care, and their diverse backgrounds could improve outcomes (Stanford, 2020; Gomez & Bernet, 2019). Hence, embracing their skills was vital for meeting changing needs. SIENNA connects nurses from diverse backgrounds. It supports them in navigating the North American healthcare system. They aim to advocate for the inclusion of these nurses, guide them, provide resources, and provide access to professional development opportunities. Their aims could enrich the nursing profession by promoting the value and contributions of internationally educated nurses.

Internationally educated nurses face challenges when entering the North American healthcare workforce, including language barriers, educational differences, and adapting to local systems (Gea-Caballero et al., 2019; Pung & Goh, 2017; Safari et al., 2022). Obtaining licensure and certification could be complex and time-consuming. SIENNA offers support, resources, and professional development opportunities to help navigate these obstacles and promote career growth.

Furthermore, SIENNA supports nursing education by providing continuing education and training. They plan to offer scholarships and grants for internationally educated nurses to offset the cost of additional education or training. Workshops, conferences, and networking events will also be provided to encourage collaboration and knowledge-sharing among professionals. It is the hope that with the Society of Internationally Educated Nurses in North America, barriers will be broken down, and pathways for licensure, employment, and professional development will be made clearer and smoother. Internationally educated nurses face unique challenges when transitioning to North America (Gea-Caballero et al., 2019; Pung & Goh, 2017; Safari et al., 2022). Kamau et al. (2023) revealed that improving cultural belonging, communication, and practical adaptation can enhance relationships between nurses and society, benefiting nurses' social and work lives as well as creating a better work environment for all nursing staff.

The official launch of SIENNA last May 13, 2023, was a groundbreaking event that will transform the way internationally educated nurses in North America and those who are still planning to migrate will live, work, and grow as nurses. SIENNA is a game-changer with the potential to revolutionize industries, simplify processes, and encourage unprecedented collaboration worldwide. By utilizing SIENNA's capabilities, we can enhance productivity and efficiency while creating new opportunities for growth and prosperity. As we embark on this exciting new venture, let's join forces to support and celebrate the positive impact that Sienna will have on our lives and the world.


Al Sabei, S. D., Labrague, L. J., Ross, A. M., Karkada, S., Albashayreh, A., Masroori, F. A., & Hashmi, N. A. (2020). Nursing Work Environment, Turnover Intention, Job Burnout, and Quality of Care: The Moderating Role of Job Satisfaction. Journal of Nursing Scholarship, 52(1), 95-104.

Catton, H. (2022). International Nurses Day: Nurses can change the world, given the investment and support they deserve. International Nursing Review, 69(3), 261-264.

Gea-Caballero, V., Castro-Sánchez, E., Díaz-Herrera, M. Á., Sarabia-Cobo, C., Juárez-Vela, R., & Zabaleta-Del Olmo, E. (2019). Motivations, Beliefs, and Expectations of Spanish Nurses Planning Migration for Economic Reasons: A Cross-Sectional, Web-Based Survey. Journal of Nursing Scholarship, 51(2), 178-186.

Gomez, L. E., & Bernet, P. (2019). Diversity improves performance and outcomes. Journal of the National Medical Association, 111(4), 383–392.

Kamau, S., Koskenranta, M., Isakov, T., Kuivila, H., Oikarainen, A., Tomietto, M., & Mikkonen, K. (2023). Culturally and linguistically diverse registered nurses' experiences of integration into the nursing workforce – A qualitative descriptive study. Nurse Education Today, 121, 105700.

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Stanford, F. C. (2020). The Importance of Diversity and Inclusion in the Healthcare Workforce. Journal of the National Medical Association, 112(3), 247-249.

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