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International Nurse: Education and Career Information

A nursing degree is more than an opportunity to serve others and help people in this country; your U.S. nursing degree makes it easy for you to find work in other countries. If you love to travel, want to immerse yourself in new places and new cultures and still perform the work you love, then a career as an international nurse may be the way to go. If you have a heart for service and want to help others in peril around the globe, then international nursing is a satisfying way to do so; you can use your skills to benefit others.

The education and skills you acquire in a nursing program in the US are highly regarded in other nations; a shortage of nurses and highly skilled healthcare providers around the world makes securing a position easier than you might think; in both developing nations and those with sophisticated technology and access to care, there is demand for skilled nurses. Since the experience you’ll have will vary based on what you want to get from the process and which countries you are most interested in working in, you’ll need to do some location specific research to figure out what places work best for your needs. Learning more about the role of the international nurse and what you need to secure a position in the field can help you determine if this exciting career is right for you.

What do International Nurses do?

International nurses take care of patients all over the world; usually in a specific country or region; work could be in undeveloped nations in primitive conditions, or in wealthy nations with robust healthcare systems and a healthy, educated populace. While the exact job details will vary, as will the environment and working conditions. In general, an international nurse does everything a nurse does in the USA, from taking medical histories and understanding patient concerns to educating patients and ensuring they get the best possible outcomes. Both specialized nurses and RNs can find rewarding employment abroad; the exact location you are able to work will depend on your specialty (if you have one) and the requirements of the country or region you are considering.

According to Johnson & Johnson, as an international nurse, you need to be able to work independently, handle many things at once, be s skilled multi tasker, and in many cases, speak more than one language.

Compensation for International Nursing

The ability to travel and see the world and to become totally immersed in a new country or culture is what draws many men and women to international nursing. For other nurses, the chance to help those in devastating conditions in underdeveloped nations makes international nursing appealing. The pay for nurses working abroad can vary dramatically depending on where you choose to work. For those working in developing nations, pay may be much less than nurses earn in the United States. Nurses and midwives in Scandinavian and European nations may find that rates of pay are the same or even exceed those in the USA; you should also be aware that some nations tax workers far more intensively than others and that taxes will impact your final paycheck.

International Nurse vs. Travel Nursing

They both imply traveling, but a travel nurse differs from an international nurse in several key ways, according to experts at Villanova University. A travel nurse is more mobile and goes from place to place – and is often domestically based. If they do travel internationally, it is for a specific assignment with a shorter duration, not a permanent posting or job.

What Education and Certification is needed to be an International Nurse?

To be able to take your nursing career abroad, you need to have a degree in Nursing; an Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) or Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) are minimal requirements. You also need to have passed your National Council Licensing Exam (NCLEX-RN); you’ll need to have at least some work experience as well.

If you are planning on working internationally, you need to be able to communicate well with patients; at the very least, you need to speak the language spoken by most residents in the area. Experience with other languages spoken or specific dialects can help improve your communication abilities and allow you to speak with and understand your patients.

Translators may be available, but already being fluent or having a strong grasp of the local language gives you an edge when it comes to securing a job and helps you perform that job more efficiently once you arrive. Even a basic understanding of both written and spoken language will help; one of the benefits of international nursing is the total immersion into the region and how rapidly your language skills will grow and improve.

Depending on where you plan on working, you’ll need to apply for and secure not only the job, but legal travel documents as well. In most cases, your employer will help you secure your Visa or work permit. The amount of legal documentation you’ll need to work can vary drastically from one country to the next; generally, the more developed the country, the more stringent their requirements. Some countries will require you to register with their own nursing boards; these include but are not limited to:

•The Nursing and Midwifery Council of the UK
•The Australian Nursing Council
•The Irish Nursing Board
•The Australian Nursing Council
•The Nursing Council of New Zealand
•The South African Nursing Council

Nursing Overseas for the US Government

You don’t have to be a member of the military to work for the US government in another country. You’ll still need a license and Visa, but organizations like the CDC and even the Department of Defense hire nurses to work in other countries. As a government worker, you’ll be paid in US dollars, like a nurse located in the United States in most cases, so you can get a better sense of what to expect, pay-wise.

International nursing can be an exciting and rewarding experience and allow you to have a big impact on patients and outcomes around the world.

Nursing Scholarships

American Assembly for Men in Nursing (AAMN) American Cancer Society Doctoral Degree Scholarships in Cancer Nursing The Gates Millenium Scholars (GMS) National Student Nurses’ Association (NSNA)
New Careers in Nursing (NCIN) Nurse Corps Scholarship (NCS) Nurses of Tomorrow
Nursing Economics Foundation Tylenol Future Care Scholarship American Holistic Nurses Association
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