Question about foreign nurses practicing in the US

  1. Hi,

    I'm not a nursing student nor in anyway affliated with nursing but I have a nursing question to ask of people on this forum. I have tried searching the forum, but I didn't find anything that answered my question. However, please forgive me if I am bringing up an old subject.

    I am actually asking on behalf of a relative in China who is interested in coming to the US to be a nurse. She lives in China and is currently a medical student there.

    Currently, almost all job openings for doctors are in hospitals and those spaces are limited due to lack of funding to build new ones. Despite a dire need for doctors, most doctors can't open up their own clinics anymore (due to inability by the gov't to regulate such a situation).

    On top of that, corruption has made it impossible for even good students from reputable med schools to find decent jobs in the city as doctors with guanxi or connection. Since my cousin has none she fears being unemployed. She's a good student, currently top of her class at a decent, but not renowned medical school in China.

    One alternative she would like to explore is the possibility of coming to the US to work as a nurse for a few years. Working in the US would probably look good on her resume, and since she eventually hopes to do graduate studies in the US anyway, she thinks working as a nurse may be a way for her to prepare for either contingency (finding a job or doing graduate studies).

    I'm not sure where to begin my quest to ask for the necessary information, documents etc for foreign nurses and was hoping someone could point me in the right direction.

    Thanks so much!
    Last edit by jiabaoyu on Jan 8, '07
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  2. 8 Comments

  3. by   ANnot4me
    Hello--

    For your friend to be able to practice nursing in the US, she will need a recognized nursing degree. A degree in medicine will not allow one to practice as a nurse as they are two different professions.

    Also, it is not easy to get into the US and it takes quite a long time to the proper visas (sometimes years).

    Places such as Australia, New Zealand and the UK need doctors. Perhaps your friend should look into other options.
  4. by   jiabaoyu
    Quote from chigap
    Hello--

    For your friend to be able to practice nursing in the US, she will need a recognized nursing degree. A degree in medicine will not allow one to practice as a nurse as they are two different professions.

    Also, it is not easy to get into the US and it takes quite a long time to the proper visas (sometimes years).

    Places such as Australia, New Zealand and the UK need doctors. Perhaps your friend should look into other options.
    Intersting, I've heard differently, and read in the papers that some foreign doctors, especially in the Phillipines, who do not have nursing degrees, were allowed to come to the US to practice as nurses. They merely passed the nursing boards in order to practice here. Did I misunderstand? Now I'm confused....do you (or anyone else) know where can I find more information on this?

    The reason she's looking to go into the US is because we (her family) lives here and we are helping her with gathering information. I may pass onto her to try the UK or Australia instead since visas are easier to obstain there.
  5. by   GrnHonu99
    Quote from jiabaoyu
    Intersting, I've heard differently, and read in the papers that some foreign doctors, especially in the Phillipines, who do not have nursing degrees, were allowed to come to the US to practice as nurses. They merely passed the nursing boards in order to practice here. Did I misunderstand? Now I'm confused....do you (or anyone else) know where can I find more information on this?

    The reason she's looking to go into the US is because we (her family) lives here and we are helping her with gathering information. I may pass onto her to try the UK or Australia instead since visas are easier to obstain there.
    First, you don't "merely" pass nursing boards. There is more to it that that. Second, to even sit for the nursing boards there are certain requirements. One being that you must have a degree from an accredited nursing school. If you didn't have to have a degree to take the nursing boards anybody could walk into a testing center, take NCLEX and possibly pass and become a nurse....nope that would be bad. So, you must have a nursing degree to be a nurse. Just because you are trained in medicine doesn't mean you know how to be a nurse, they are seperate professions. I know quite a bit about being a social worker and it is possible that I could pass the boards (if i were allowed to take them) but that doesnt mean I could or should operate as a social worker.

    I know several foreign nurses and they all say it was difficult coming over, a long process. Not trying to discourage your friend, hope her all the best.
  6. by   jiabaoyu
    Quote from ELKMNin06
    First, you don't "merely" pass nursing boards. There is more to it that that. Second, to even sit for the nursing boards there are certain requirements. One being that you must have a degree from an accredited nursing school. If you didn't have to have a degree to take the nursing boards anybody could walk into a testing center, take NCLEX and possibly pass and become a nurse....nope that would be bad. So, you must have a nursing degree to be a nurse. Just because you are trained in medicine doesn't mean you know how to be a nurse, they are seperate professions. I know quite a bit about being a social worker and it is possible that I could pass the boards (if i were allowed to take them) but that doesnt mean I could or should operate as a social worker.

    I know several foreign nurses and they all say it was difficult coming over, a long process. Not trying to discourage your friend, hope her all the best.
    Thanks. I was not aware of this. I wonder how some Chinese nurses could become nurses in the US? In China, nursing is a high school program, and does not require any college coursework, and only doctors ever take classes that resembles what a nursing student in this country would take.

    Given that not all nursing programs are created equal in the world, how does the US differentiate which nursing program they will take? Also, I am curious as to how these Philipines doctors become nurses? Does anyone know where I could go about finding information about this?
  7. by   caliotter3
    I was in a training program one time where there were three Vietnamese doctors. They were accepted into this program largely d/t their medical background, however they stated that they could not practice medicine in the US. When the topic was being discussed at a group conference, no further detail was given (whether or not this was a voluntary or temporary situation for these doctors). I do remember that the speaker was almost impossible to understand so I suspect that verbal English was going to be a problem for this person no matter what he could be credentialed in. At least two Filipina RNs that I have met in the past, stated that their doctor husbands remained in the Phillippines b/c they could not deal with English proficiency. Am not implying that this would be a problem in this particular case, but it is something that needs to be considered along with licensing requirements and education requirements. Good luck.
  8. by   sunnyjohn
    Suzanne the moderator is the local expert on allnurses on nurse immigration. I am sure she will see this thread and respond. You might also want to send her a PM with your questions. Be sure to read her "Primer" 'sticky-ied' in the international forum.

    All nurses who immigrate to the US must either have nursing degree from a US college or a nursing degree from a college in their home country. Essentially their nursing education must be recognised in their home country as proper training for nurses. (RN)

    It is common in the Philipines for doctors and people from dfferent career to go back to school and get a second bachelor's degree (in nursing) in order to qualify to immigrate to the US. They are commonly called "second coursers". Those Filipino doctors you read about either did this or attended an ADN/Diploma/ BSN/Accelerated BSN program in the US.

    A foreign doctor does not qualify to take the NCLEX by nature of his/her medical degree. He/she must have nursing education. Although nurses and doctors take care of the sick, their scope/role does differ.

    At the present foreign nurses are facing retrogression. There are no more permenant resident visa numbers available so they are essentially stuck in limbo. With the new Congress expected to work on immigration issues soon, many feel we may start to hear some rumblings on the issue perhaps by summer.


    Many nurses from China have made it over. It is not impossible for a nurse from China or any other country to immigrate. It just takes time. (18months - 5years).

    Suzanne will correct me if I have said anything incorrect.
    Last edit by sunnyjohn on Jan 8, '07
  9. by   jiabaoyu
    Quote from caliotter3
    I was in a training program one time where there were three Vietnamese doctors. They were accepted into this program largely d/t their medical background, however they stated that they could not practice medicine in the US. When the topic was being discussed at a group conference, no further detail was given (whether or not this was a voluntary or temporary situation for these doctors). I do remember that the speaker was almost impossible to understand so I suspect that verbal English was going to be a problem for this person no matter what he could be credentialed in. At least two Filipina RNs that I have met in the past, stated that their doctor husbands remained in the Phillippines b/c they could not deal with English proficiency. Am not implying that this would be a problem in this particular case, but it is something that needs to be considered along with licensing requirements and education requirements. Good luck.
    Thank you for the advice. My cousin is aware of the English issue. I have told her I will try to find information about the necessary paperwork but that she will have to handle the english proficiency herself. Unfortunately, her spoken english is rudimentary so she plans on staying in the country to perfect her english (and finish her degree) before doing anything else.

    Quote from sunnyjohn
    Suzanne the moderator is the local expert on allnurses on nurse immigration. I am sure she will see this thread and respond. You might also want to send her a PM with your questions. Be sure to read her "Primer" 'sticky-ied' in the international forum.

    All nurses who immigrate to the US must either have nursing degree from a US college or a nursing degree from a college in their home country. Essentially their nursing education must be recognised in their home country as proper training for nurses. (RN)

    It is common in the Philipines for doctors and people from dfferent career to go back to school and get a second bachelor's degree (in nursing) in order to qualify to immigrate to the US. They are commonly called "second coursers". Those Filipino doctors you read about either did this or attended an ADN/Diploma/ BSN/Accelerated BSN program in the US.

    A foreign doctor does not qualify to take the NCLEX by nature of his/her medical degree. He/she must have nursing education. Although nurses and doctors take care of the sick, their scope/role does differ.

    At the present foreign nurses are facing retrogression. There are no more permenant resident visa numbers available so they are essentially stuck in limbo. With the new Congress expected to work on immigration issues soon, many feel we may start to hear some rumblings on the issue perhaps by summer.


    Many nurses from China have made it over. It is not impossible for a nurse from China or any other country to immigrate. It just takes time. (18months - 5years).

    Suzanne will correct me if I have said anything incorrect.

    Thanks so much. This was very informative. I will PM Suzanne and head over to the international forum. It seems, given the information thus far, that my cousin's best bet is to finish her degree and perfect her english. It seems the nursing plan will have to wait until I can scout out more information. For now, I guess my advice would be for her to finish her degree and perfect her english. Whatever she wants to do in the US, she will need to be able to converse in english. Thanks so much for the clarification. Wow, those doctors turned nurses must be very focused and disciplined to go back to school exclusively for a degree that will enable for them to just sit for a licensing exam.
  10. by   spiceyqueen
    hey,
    in Australia if a Dr. from another country comes to work as a nurse, well they can only get a job as an Assistant in Nursing.worked in a nursing Home with and indian doctor(with close to six years experience as a GP) while he awaited to do his medical exams in order to get licenced in Australia. and the rules are becoming tighter, so maybe she may get a job in Disability support worker

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