Foreign Nurses

With the current shortage of nurses in the United States today, there is a big demand for foreign nurses. If you graduated from a nursing school and hold a nursing license from a foreign country, you can enjoy a promising career in the United States.

Tips for Foreign Nurses

  • If you are planning to become a permanent resident of this country, you will need to obtain your alien registration card through the Immigration and Naturalization Service. In order to make sure that you meet all the criteria for licensure, you will need to know the state in which you will be working, as licensure qualifications vary by state.
  • The Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) is a federally approved body, which oversees the certification of foreign-schooled nurses. It is required by most state boards of nursing that the foreign nurse complete the certification process.
  • The certification process for foreign nurses has three parts, a credentials review, an English language-testing exam, and the CGFNS qualifying exam. The credentials review measures the foreign nurse’s knowledge in adult and child medical/surgical nursing, obstetrics and mental health nursing.
  • The next stage of the process is the test of English as foreign language or TOEFL. The scores of the TOEFL exam remain valid for two years. Finally, you must take a CGFNS qualifying exam within two years of taking the TOEFL. To be eligible for the CGFNS exam, you must currently be licensed as a nurse in a foreign country. There are two different types of reports that are issued by the CGFNS, so make sure to determine which one is required by the Board of Nursing in the state you wish to practice in. This exam studies your nursing education and clinical experiences, and compares them to United States college credits for equivalency.
  • The visa screen certificate is also required for any foreign nurse who wishes to obtain a residency visa.

There are currently about 90,000 foreign nurses employed in the U.S., and they can enjoy a plentitude of jobs as well as comfortable salaries. The average nurse’s salary has risen by thirty-two percent in the last six years with the median being 69,000 annually in 2009.

Have foreign nurses hurt American jobs?

The answer is no. Only 3.7% of American nurses are foreign nurses, and America still has a big shortage of qualified nurses. The process for foreign licensure in the United States is such that only relatively small numbers of foreign nurses negotiate the licensure process each year.

Generally, foreign nurses experience positive job experiences in U.S. hospitals. Eighty to one hundred percent of foreign nurses working as agency nurses in US hospitals convert to permanent staff employment.

Nursing School Articles – Main