8 Challenges as a Foreign Nurse in the US and Tips for Overcoming Them

Some people go into nursing because they feel called to the field, while others do so in the hopes of finding work in a foreign country. A career in nursing has the potential to provide both personal and financial rewards. Nonetheless, many foreign nurses in the USA face unique difficulties in this line of work.

If you can anticipate these challenges and learn to deal with them professionally and emotionally, you will be more equipped to handle them. In this blog, we will go over some of the more frequent challenges foreign nurses encounter on the job and offer advice for dealing with those difficulties.

Foreign Nurse in the USA: 8 Challenges & How to Overcome Them

The unique demands of nursing provide a wide range of difficulties, including those of a physical, emotional, and mental nature. Some difficulties that nurses, particularly foreign nurses, face, include the following:

1.       Receiving the Professional License

Foreign nurses in the USA require a valid nursing license issued by the state where they intend to work to engage in the profession of nursing in the USA. Each state’s Board of Nursing has its own standards for RN licensing.

In order to practice nursing legally in most states, you will need to pass a licensing exam administered by your state’s nursing board. You must also submit your credentials to CGFNS International for evaluation. This is to guarantee that your credentials are legitimate and that your education is on par with that offered in the USA.

It is advisable to hire a nursing credential evaluation service to ensure you have the necessary credentials to meet immigration requirements or establish your readiness for a licensure examination. It’s best to opt for a NACES member firm.

2.       Selecting a Nursing Niche

A nursing degree opens multiple career paths for foreign nurses in the US. Nurses have a lot of career options. You can become a registered nurse, certified nursing assistant, licensed vocational nurse, licensed practical nurse, emergency room nurse, home care nurse, labor and delivery nurse, or any other type of nurse you want.

It can be overwhelming to choose the right niche. But, you can make the right decision with some consideration. Assess yourself and consider your abilities. See where you excel and what you enjoy. Add to that your preferred activities, which may or may not be related.

Also, consider your ideal working conditions and the trajectory of the healthcare industry. Document your hopes, plans, and ideas for the future alongside this information. It will give you a pretty good idea about the nursing niche you wish to pursue.

3.       Finding a Suitable Nursing Position

As a foreign nurse in the USA, you may struggle to find the right nursing positions to accelerate your career. You can apply directly at the hospitals or consider working with a nursing recruiter to get a position as a registered nurse.

Remember, these staffing agencies can also double as your US-based employer to help you obtain an immigrant visa during the immigration process.

4.       Change of Environment

Foreign nurses leave their homes and loved ones to advance their careers in the USA. Working abroad in a new place with new people and a new social circle requires a lot of adjusting, which can be difficult sometimes.

Moreover, the norms of the American community and lifestyle may differ from those at home, leaving you confused or frustrated. However, you must learn to be brave and independent going forward.

It may take time to adjust to your new surroundings and make new friends while you’re far from home and your usual support network. However, this is a minor setback that you will quickly get over. The nursing community is known for its supportive culture. So, you can expect to find friends quickly.

5.       Struggle against Bias

Despite widespread opposition to discrimination, some people continue to discriminate against and otherwise mistreat migrant nurses. It has been argued that discrimination is a major ethical problem in the international relocation of nurses.

 Although recruiters may guarantee a certain pay, migrant nurses often arrive in the country to discover they are paid significantly less. The best way to deal with discrimination is to be an active part of the strong nursing community in the USA. Raise your voice against discrimination, whether directed at you or anyone else.

Carefully consider your prospects. Try to work with employers that discourage unfairness in salary, attitude, working hours, and all other aspects of work. If possible, talk to current or former employees to learn about the hospital or employer before accepting a nursing position.

6.       Workplace Stress and Exhaustion

The effects of working long hours and getting little sleep vary from person to person. Long shifts and rotating shift schedules can take a toll on nurses, leading to exhaustion and stress. Over time, workplace stress can take a toll on your health and emotional well-being.

This is a common struggle faced by all medical professionals, including foreign nurses. Regardless, it needs to be addressed at all costs since it can result in careless mistakes while on the job, loss of employment, and even depression.

First and foremost, remember to breathe. As a nurse, you should prioritize your own health. Prepare yourself for the upcoming work week by getting a good night’s sleep, eating healthy meals, and giving yourself some much-needed downtime over the weekend. Maintain a healthy work-life balance to avoid burnout.

7.       Barriers to Effective Communication

It can be difficult for nurses to convey information effectively to patients and other medical staff for many reasons. This may be especially true for foreign nurses when dealing with patients from different ethnic backgrounds.

Misunderstandings between nurses and patients might occur due to language limitations or cultural differences. Give yourself time to understand the language and cultural norms. It is also a good idea to discuss matters with experienced nurses or shadow them for a few days if possible.

8.       Ensuring Safety on Job

When working as a nurse, there’s always a possibility of back injuries and coming in contact with infections. Therefore, American Nurses Association (ANA) has launched a profession-wide initiative to lessen the frequency of such incidents while handling patients.

To better protect nurses, this campaign is implementing measures such as expanded education and training, workplace information on the increased usage of assistive equipment, and initiatives to reform government ergonomics policy. It is advisable to stay on top of these policies and prioritize your safety.

Kick Start Your Career as a Foreign Nurse in the USA with ERES

Looking to apply for your immigration or professional nursing license in the US? We can help facilitate the recognition of your foreign education in the US through our Nursing Credential Evaluation Service. Visit our website to learn more about our services.

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