Canadian nurses in the US

  1. Hi. I am a student and I am wondering what canadian nurses' experience are of working in the States? For instance how did you get your placement. Are the wages and packages truly competitive? What was your experience with the impact of privitization ie. work environment, standards etc.?
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  2. 11 Comments

  3. by   fergus51
    I got my first US job from a job fair. Their recruiters come up to all the big Canadian cities (Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Toronto, etc.). The wages and packages are really attractive, especially to new grads. A friend who is graduating this year will be moving to California where the starting wage is 20$ US and she will receive training in a specialty area with a year long mentorship. I'll probably being going back next year.

    It bears mentionning that for every fabulous hospital there is a hell whole (that's the beauty of privatisation). You should tour the facility before accepting a job, no matter what the airplane ticket costs it is worth it (a lot of places will even pay for it). There have been reports of Canadian nurses being lured to the US with promises of great jobs only to find out that they are replacement workers because the staff RNs are striking.
  4. by   Joybug
    I responded to an ad in the Toronto Star. Every year in June there is a job fair in Toronto. Marskell marketing has been running them for years in Canada.

    You really do need to check it out before agreeing.
  5. by   ClariceS
    I was very blessed! I was recruited at a job fair and naive as I was at the time, took the job and moved down to Texas from Alberta. I got a job at a fabulous hospital (where I still am 9 yrs later). Their nurse recruitment office took care of all the paperwork regarding licensure and immigration. Their rates were lower/hr but I was guaranteed full time and benefits. They paid a moving allowance and tuition reimbursement but no sign-on bonus (they offer that now). It is nurse supportive and I have had great opportunities for advancement (am a nurse manager now).

    *BUT* - as I stated at first, I was blessed! I could have easily walked into another area hospital that routinely has 10-12 patients/nurse. I get about 1 nurse every 2 months from that facility asking to work my floor alone. They offer a fabulous sign on bonus which grabs new nurses who don't know any better. (Always ask youself what they will ask of you if their bonus seems a little to good to be true.)

    I totally agree you should check out the facility first. If possible try talk to some of the nurses working there, not just to the recruiter. Someone who recently started working for me arrived about a half hour before her interview and before introducing herself to me, she went up to a couple of the nurses, told them she was a nurse and asked them what they thought about this hospital. That way she already had an idea of how she felt about things before she talked to me. (Thankfully she talked to some happy nurses!!!) She told me later what she had done and that they had been the ones to convince her, not me.

    There are some great opportunities if you are willing to get out and look for them! Great luck!!!
  6. by   pebbles
    Golly - I was also planning to head south, but am hitting roadblocks. The big one being the requirement for CGFNS certification in most states. The cost of getting that certificate is very expensive - not just the fees, but it is only written in certain cities, so I'd have to travel quite far just to write the exam. If I plan to move, I don't want to be spending upwards of $1000 just to prove that my education is up to snuff. So I'm looking at some of the states that don't require CGFNS. I can always move later, or whatever.
    Scared of being decieved by recruiters!
  7. by   Charly
    :roll After several years living and working in the States as an RN (in states giving reciprocity to my Ontario licence), I have returned to my hometown for the sake of family. Until now, Michigan state required a CGFNS and NCLEX certification which I finally did last year under a temporary MI licence. As of April 1, 2002, due to shortage, Michigan recognizes Ontario licensure with reciprocity. Sucks badly for our already suffering Canadian health system short of docs, nurses, techs, dentists, chiropractors, etc. as this reciprocity extends to such professions.
    Both sides of the border hurt for health professionals. Last week a big job fair advertised $4000 - $10,000 sign-on bonus at a couple Detroit hospitals.
    I have commuted to a CCU over there for over a year now, grossing last year $64,000 US ($101,000 CDN) as a contingent/per diem 12-hr nightshift staff nurse. I have an friend working in ICU at the same hospital who is regular, full-time 12-hr nights who has a highly-proficient bookkeeper (I now use his services) and has no income tax owing to either side of the border--now THAT is a miracle. The commute is worthwhile for now as the exchange allows me to work 36 hours a week facilitating my husband to be the domestic parent for our children. I'm thankful that nursing is a portable job. Travel contracts were great and when my kids are college age, we'll travel again. No one can take away the fact that I have my NCLEX and that I have proved to be English-proficient!:chuckle
  8. by   mightynurse
    Hi, I like to share my $ 0.02. I graduated from Dalhouise University with a BScN, Halifax, NS. I am now living in Toledo, OH. The easiest state to get your NCLEX through is the State of Minnesota. They do not require CGFNS certification. I took the NCLEX and then got my Minnesota license and had applied for my Ohio license through endorsement. If I had applied for an Ohio license outright, I would had to have CGFNS and English test.
    I do not have an Ontario license, but I want to work in Michigan, specially at he Henery Ford Hopsital. I want to take the CGFNS after I work a year or so in Ohio. I feel the cost for the CGFNS is high but it is well worth it, because in Michigan, the hourly wage is higher, upwards to $30/hr. Right now I earn $16.92 at the Toledo Hospital. They did offer a $2000 sign on bonus.
    What I relly wanted to do is to work at the Henery Ford Hospital in Detroit and live in Windsor, only beause of the lower living costs and safer neighborhoods . But my husband, being an american can not stand the slower place of life in windsor, although he loves to shop there. I have convinced him that we should move, but from talking to other people who communte across the border they say that they do not recommend it.
    I like working in the states, but eveetually I want to go back to Canada, because I lke the Banks there, like TD and I feel more comfortable raising my children there. I know some nurses from Nova Scotia go down to Florida to do one to teo years of nursing then they return, they say it's not all cracked up to be so pleasant, they are looong hours, with hight nurse to patient ratios, but all hopsitals are different. You just have to find your "niche" A lot of times I find that it is your co-workers taht can make alll the differnce of whether or not you stay at a particular hopsital, because I as a novice nurse needed their guidance at times and they were more then happy to help me climb the ropes of learning hospital routines and policies. If I felt that I was in the way or not keeping up with rest of the nurses, I would have tried a diferent hospital. But if I had a choice, I would go back to Canada, if things didn't work out for me here, toledo, Ohio. But things are going fine for now.
  9. by   pebbles
    Thanks for sharing, Mightynurse, this info is a big help.
  10. by   KarinJ
    Hi, I have been a nurse here in California for 10 yrs. now and moved from Saskatchewan. It was the best move I ever made! I do miss my family but the experience I have received and the work has been good to me. I don't know what the RN's salary is , but when I go home to visit the American dollars grow in Canada. I was able to advance my career immediately here, whereas it would have taken me yrs and yrs. to get where I am today if I were still in Sask.
    In addition, I love the sunshine and will never go back to shovelling snow!
    There are alot of recruiters at every hospital in every city, so decide where you want to go and inquire with the hospitals there.
    Initially, it took about 6 months to move here with all the paperwork but I am sure that it doesn't take that long anymore.
    Good luck:
    KarinJ
  11. by   lalaxton
    Another state that does offers reciprocity with Canada is North Carolina, with lots of jobs to offer and a fairly cheap cost of living depending where you go. I spent 12 years living in the US before coming home for family reasons. worked in CT, NC,SC and Louisiana. I enjoyed NC the most CT the least. There is tremendous variation in working conditions across the country. As a previous poster stated, I recommend that you go visit the hospital first before making a commitment!
  12. by   wendilynn
    Hi there,

    I am a nurse from Ottawa and I moved to the US about 8 years ago. I am now in Florida ( I met a man and got married). I worked for a few years in Massachusetts and now I am in Florida.

    I had to take the CGFNS when I wanted to work in the US. The only bad thing about the CGFNS is that it is only good for a certian amount of time and then the certificate expires.

    If you are planning on moving to the US, check out where you are going to go, if you think moving to Florida is like being on vacation, you are wrong. You don't go to the beach every day. You work and if you're lucky you get to go on your day off. Sometimes the weather is to darn hot to go outside. Then there are the hurricanes that come in the fall.

    Yes there is a need for nurses everywhere, but just be careful, sometimes you're better off staying at home and finding a job there.

    I sometimes wish that I had stayed at home, but I didn't and now I live in Florida and I don't think that I will be moving back.

    Good luck.

    Wendy
  13. by   lolababy
    Quote from ClariceS
    I was very blessed! I was recruited at a job fair and naive as I was at the time, took the job and moved down to Texas from Alberta. I got a job at a fabulous hospital (where I still am 9 yrs later). Their nurse recruitment office took care of all the paperwork regarding licensure and immigration. Their rates were lower/hr but I was guaranteed full time and benefits. They paid a moving allowance and tuition reimbursement but no sign-on bonus (they offer that now). It is nurse supportive and I have had great opportunities for advancement (am a nurse manager now).

    *BUT* - as I stated at first, I was blessed! I could have easily walked into another area hospital that routinely has 10-12 patients/nurse. I get about 1 nurse every 2 months from that facility asking to work my floor alone. They offer a fabulous sign on bonus which grabs new nurses who don't know any better. (Always ask youself what they will ask of you if their bonus seems a little to good to be true.)

    I totally agree you should check out the facility first. If possible try talk to some of the nurses working there, not just to the recruiter. Someone who recently started working for me arrived about a half hour before her interview and before introducing herself to me, she went up to a couple of the nurses, told them she was a nurse and asked them what they thought about this hospital. That way she already had an idea of how she felt about things before she talked to me. (Thankfully she talked to some happy nurses!!!) She told me later what she had done and that they had been the ones to convince her, not me.

    There are some great opportunities if you are willing to get out and look for them! Great luck!!!
    Hello Clarices,
    How are you doing. i am new to this forum , i joined last month. i came across your posting although I know your mail is old thread but i am a new grad and i am planning to move to Texas. I would be very grateful to know your recommendation on Hospitals in Texas area based on your experience. And also i would like to know the hospital you work for and changes you know from your old post. Any info you can give will be very appreciated.
    Thankss

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