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American trained in the UK!

Posted

Hi, all!

I'm an American. I've been living in the UK for the past several years (my husband is English) and will be graduating with a BSc Honours degree in Adult Nursing next year. We're planning to move back to my native California shortly after that. I've begun studying for the NCLEX now to give myself plenty of time to prepare for the exam.

However, I really have no idea how nursing differs on a day-to-day basis in the States. What is a shift like on a standard med/surg ward? Who will teach me how to cannulate and take blood, since that isn't taught to student nurses in the UK, and many trained RNs here don't ever learn how to do it? Will I be able to keep up? All I hear is how much more high caliber American-trained nurses are, and quite frankly it's lead me to feel like my training might be inadequate even though I will have a degree and British registration.

Any advice, information, words of wisdom, etc. would be appreciated. Immigration won't be an issue, obviously, but what do I need to know about making the transition from the UK to the US in terms of what it means to be a registered nurse?

JustBeachyNurse, RN

Specializes in Complex pediatrics turned LTC/subacute geriatrics. Has 11 years experience.

You likely won't qualify for licensing as an RN in CA as US nurses are generalist trained. You will be required to have official proof that you completed concurrent clinical and theory in not only adult med/surg but also psych/mental health, geriatrics, obstetrics and pediatrics. It is extremely difficult to enroll for just psych, OB, and pediatrics courses in the US.

The other issue will be finding employment as an inexperienced new grad. It seems you are a citizen with a valid US social security number (you cannot even apply for a CA nursing license without a valid SSN) so that helps. However the unemployment rate for new grad, inexperienced nurses in CA is around 45%.

Thanks for your response. From what I've heard, the acceptance of UK nursing degree transcripts varies from university to university. Some UK trained nurses who are now working as RNs in the States say that they didn't need any additional schooling, while others had to do a few weeks' worth, which doesn't sound too bad at all as long as you can find an institution that will allow you to sign on as a guest student.

I do have a SSN as I was born and raised in California. My plan is to work here in London for a year to get some work experience under my belt while I get all of the paperwork sorted and study for the NCLEX (which I've already started to do). It's also handy that British RNs can take the NCLEX in London.

Silverdragon102, BSN

Specializes in Medical and general practice now LTC. Has 33 years experience.

Each state is different however all require hours both clinical and theory in Paeds, Obstetrics, Mental Health and Adult and has to be shown on your transcripts

All of those areas have definitely been covered in the theoretical aspect of my degree. We have had specific lectures on child development, labour and birth, caring for the acutely unwell pregnant patient, and how mental health diagnoses affect physiological problems. Clinically, I have cared for paediatric patients (in the community setting), pregnant women (in ICU and the community setting), and patients with psychiatric diagnoses across the board. Hopefully the Californian powers-that-be will be able to weed through all of that as clearly as possible. If not, I have no problem seeking out classes in order to top up.

Silverdragon102, BSN

Specializes in Medical and general practice now LTC. Has 33 years experience.

Having Paeds patients in the community may not be enough your transcripts have to show I believe over 75 hours actual Paeds placement. I use 75 hours as a rough estimate as I had just over 75 hours in mental health and obstetrics and that was enough for 2 states that I had a license in. Same goes for the other areas. Your transcripts have to show this and that the theory and clinical was taken together. This is important for CA as they are very strict that clinical and theory is done at the same time.

It is an issue that many International nurses are having with CA and many are struggling to find anywhere in CA to make up the hours that the state requires as most nursing schools are not accepting guest students

Hi there! I'm revisiting this thread now that I'm almost qualified. I've attempted to contact the CA BON regarding obtaining extra hours in paeds/obs/psych. So far, no response, which seems to be how they roll.

What's confusing me is why there is an NCLEX testing centre in London if it's all but impossible for UK nurses to work in the States!

meeky71

Specializes in emergency nursing. Has 19 years experience.

It is not impossible for UK nurses to work in the States but the process is not easy!!! I am a UK nurse who has undergone the licence and NCLEX process successfully. I found it much easier ringing the BON rather than email. It was more expensive phone call wise but I did manage to get answers to the questions I had. PM me and I can share my experience with you.

Thank you! Fortunately I have found three schools in LA who offer top up classes for international RNs who have deficit for paeds and obs. I'm just now trying to figure out of it's worth applying to the BRN first knowing I'll get a letter saying that I need to do extra classes, do the extra classes, and then send those transcripts in; or do the classes and then apply to the BRN once everything is completed.

heron, ASN, RN

Specializes in Hospice. Has 40 years experience.

And don't denigrate your British training. The UK is the very birthplace of modern nursing ... they must have done something right and are probably still doing it. You likely have a lot to offer us. The skills gap, I suspect, has more to do with differences in the educational system than an absolute failure to educate well.

Absolutely. My return to the US has more to do with family matters than anything else. I love the NHS and think that British nursing education excels at producing the most compassionate nurses who are equipped with a truly holistic approach to patient care.

Britnursecalibound

Specializes in Home Health, Palliative Care.

Look at other states for your first license ie Florida or Georgia and then endorse to CA.

Silverdragon102, BSN

Specializes in Medical and general practice now LTC. Has 33 years experience.

Look at other states for your first license ie Florida or Georgia and then endorse to CA.

Same process with the BRN regardless on whether initial or endorsing application.

To the OP I would probably suggest applying to the BRN and see what they say and then get the course/s required

Britnursecalibound

Specializes in Home Health, Palliative Care.

Same process with the BRN regardless on whether initial or endorsing application.

Thanks Silver dragon. Is that new? I didn't have to add any futher hours when I endorsed to California from Florida?

Same process with the BRN regardless on whether initial or endorsing application.

Thanks Silver dragon. Is that new? I didn't have to add any futher hours when I endorsed to California from Florida?

Did you come to the States before or after 2010? That year seems to have been the turning point for the CA BRN's educational requirements.

Britnursecalibound

Specializes in Home Health, Palliative Care.

Ah! T'was before 2010. That's a real pain!:no:

Ah! T'was before 2010. That's a real pain!:no:

Tell me about it! From what I have heard, the measures were put in place as a reaction to some Filipino nurses applying for licensure in California with fraudulent documents. So now all foreign trained nurses are required to undertake California-based nursing education as a safety measure and as a way to ensure some type of conformity.

Personally, I don't really mind the idea. A bit of schooling will prepare me for what American nursing is like. The extra paperwork, money, and bureaucracy is a right pain in the bum, but it will work out.

Hi moon melody,

were you able to obtain your California license after all?