Advise for the Canadian RN's wanting to work in California

  1. I just wanted to share with you all about some of the issues that I faced when I came to California with a TN visa.
    1) In California the ratio is 5:1 but in most of the hospitals you will be working as a team with a LVN and you will have up to 7 patients.
    2) The people here pay a lot of money for their health insurence so they expect a little bit more extra services from their nurses. But the Canadian nurses are very well respected here.
    3) When you go through a nurse recruiter or an agent never sign a long term contract ( 2-3 yrs contract). You will get sign on bonuses, they are usually large amount and its very tempting but you may be working in a hospital that you dont like and its not safe, then it will be hard for you to break the contract....so DO NOT SIGN A LONG TERM CONTRACT!!
    4) If you are coming here from the west coast and have a good car, bring your car with you. You can not get around in California without a car. You will not be allowed to buy a car or even open a bank account without a social security card. It took me 6 weeks to get my card and I had to cash my first pay check and keep all the cash in a suitcase in my appartment....not safe!
    5) If you are planning to stay here longer ask your employer to sponsor you for a green card. Other wise some times you will face difficulties when you try to renew your TN.
    6) When you do get your green card, never work for a county hospital, they dont pay you good. Also you will make more money in Northern California than in So Cal!
    7) Also read the medical/dental benefits info throughly....you will be paying co-pay here, and some hospitals dont accept all the insurances...like Canada you cant just go to a hospital and show your health care card....ask them questions or you will be paying alot of money from your pocket for co-pay and other fees!
    The last one is.....the hospitals here will give you good wages but will also make you work hard for the money....so be prepared to work hard but always remember to protect your license....Good Luck
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  2. 12 Comments

  3. by   Silverdragon102
    You do not need a SSN to open a bank account. I know of a few people who opened their bank accounts without one.
  4. by   ginger58
    "1) In California the ratio is 5:1 but in most of the hospitals you will be working as a team with a LVN and you will have up to 7 patients."

    In CA the med-surg ratio is 5:1 and you are not accurate in saying that in most hospitals you'll be teamed up with an lVN.

    I thought nursing in any country is hard work?

    As far as health insurance, of course you'll be sharing part of the cost. I have never had an unreasonable co-pay and have been grateful for the insurance plans. Sorry, but you couldn't pay me to use the health care system you have in Canada. I'll take ours any day.
  5. by   Shantas
    Co-pay:
    I did not mean to compare the Canadian and the US system!! I just wanted to share with everyone that they need to read the fine print when they get enrolled in to the health insurance provided by the hospitals that they are employed for.
    In Canada we can go to any hospital and simply show our health care card and everything is taken care of. So when I first came to Yuba City, I had to have a chest x-ray for my green card application. So I went to a hospital in Sacramento near the US immigration appointed MD office where I had my physical done. I thought the insurance that I was enrolled through my hospital would take care of it. I did not want to go back to Yuba City which is about 45 min drive from Sacramento....any how the cost of the chest xray was only $7 but later I received a letter from my insurance company that I had to pay them $300 just because I used a facility which is not covered by my insurance policy!! If I would have gone to Yuba City and had my x-ray taken in my hospital I wouldn't had to pay anything! See in Canada its totally different....I lived in Edmonton but if I went to a hospital in Calgary they would accept my AB health care card
    Also I have worked in 4 different hospitals from Yuba City to Riverside. I often time team with a LVN if I am doing "teaming". If I am doing primary care I take care of 5 patient. In Kaiser system we carry 7 patients when we team with a LVN and I know for sure there are couple of hospitals in Riverside where a RN carries up to 10 patients when he/she is teaming with a LVN.
    Yes nursing is physically and emotionally demanding most of the time. But I was faced with situations where I had to take care of patients in a regular med/surg floor who should have been in ICU.
    The bottom line is working here as a nurse is not always rosey. Not all the hospitals are safe to work. When you talk to a recruiter they dont tell you all the truth. You only find out after you sign the contract and go to the floor. Also not all the hospitals are unionized. You dont have UNA here like the way we do in Alberta! So you are basically on your own
  6. by   Fiona59
    Well, I've been biting my tongue but now I have to say something.

    Shantas:

    Did you have any employment experience before you went South? I work with RNs who worked in the US and would never go back, and yes I work in Edmonton. It looks like you had an education subsidized by the Canadian taxpayer and flew off to "greener pastures" the first chance you got. You know there are a reason American recruiters come here and the rest of the world. Their own people don't want to work in the facilities they recruit for.

    I work with RNs here and I carry the same patient load as I do. They are not responsible for my practice or my medications. So don't sound so offended that you have to work with a different grade of nurse. From what you are saying you wouldn't work well on Capital Health units.

    You also sound very naive in your dealings with your recruiter and the health care system down south. We've all heard about their restrictions on providers, HMOs, etc. up here. Did you do any research before you leapt across the border?

    Ginger58: If you ever got sick up here you would be treated like any other patient depending on your condition and your economic status regardless of how much insurance you carry. No our system isn't perfect but don't sound so condescending about a system you've never utilized.
  7. by   Shantas
    Please dont take me wrong. I love to work with the LVN and most of them are my very dear friends. Some of them are even better than me! But the patient load that we carry are sometimes horrible. Even my American co-workers also complain.
    I work in a great hospital now. We have a union. I am happy with where I am now. But I must say I do miss Edmonton I did not go to school by using tax payers money....I was also a tax payer when I lived in Edmonton I do have a heafty student loan that I am still paying for I also worked at University of Alberta hospital before I moved here
    I should have read all the fine print before I signed any contract but I did not!
    I have learned from my mistake and thats why I wanted to tell the others. There are good things about working here as well. The weather, wages, you can decide what shift you want to work...either day evening or night so on. You just have to do your research and talk to the other nurses who are already here
  8. by   freeroad
    Thank you very much, Shantus, for posting this here. I am going to San Fan this month for a three month travel assignment at UCSF medical center. I wouldn't dare to make such a big move if it wasn't you and other fellow nurses who is willing to share your own precious experience with us, and provide first hand information to us.
    Best wishes to you!
  9. by   traumaRUs
    Good topic. Let's please keep this to concrete advice on how Canadians can ease the transition from to the US system of medical care. With any country (even those close to us), it is a different system. That is why this thread can carry valuable info if we keep to the subject of what Canadian nurses need to know to be comfortable and successful in the US.
  10. by   Shantas
    Quote from freeroad
    Thank you very much, Shantus, for posting this here. I am going to San Fan this month for a three month travel assignment at UCSF medical center. I wouldn't dare to make such a big move if it wasn't you and other fellow nurses who is willing to share your own precious experience with us, and provide first hand information to us.
    Best wishes to you!
    You are most welcome Everyone will have different experiences here. Some are good and some are bad. You just have to get to used to the system and find out your comfort level. Its an awesome experience otherwise. Most of the people are friendly. San Fran is beautifull. Everyone specially the new grad should try it out, you will get to learn lots of new things....I love the weather here. Good luck
  11. by   maryam.youhanna
    Hi Shantas,

    I would like to thank you for the useful information and for your care to share your experience.I just joined "AllNurses.com" and I would like to know if you are still available to answer some questions.

    Thanks
  12. by   Fiona59
    The thread has been inactive for over 18 months. The OP hasn't been back since 2008.

    I think it's a dead thread.
  13. by   maryam.youhanna
    Thanks
  14. by   bethlearning
    are you still working today in ca and can you share your experience in 2011??
    I'm from Canada and would like to know more about it. Tks kindly.

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