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bigblondebun bigblondebun (Member)

BC RN to Washington State

Washington   (129 Views 2 Comments)
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Hi there,

I am an RN in BC looking to move down to Washington state to be with my partner. I've read through a recent thread regarding moving to Seattle from Vancouver, but was hoping to find some more perspectives. If anyone here able to share their experience obtaining a WA state licence, finding employment, or overall differences in practice/culture between the two healthcare systems, I would greatly appreciate it! I would also value any thoughts or input from WA RNs who have worked with Canadian RNs. 

Thank you 🙂

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You probably saw my thread before, but I'll share some more info. To get a WA License you need to prove your education equivalency using CGFNS. CGFNS is $300+ and takes time, took me a few months to get things in order. Once you have that, getting the WA RN license is easy. Getting a work visa is another question however, I came in on a TN.


Finding employment was not difficult for me. I previously worked for BC Cancer Agency, so Oncology nurses were in high demand no matter where you go. I basically went down for interviews, accepted a job offer, and a few days before I started work I drove to the border and got my TN visa.


Practice/culture: Drug names are different. Sometimes the utilized drugs are different too. I want to say that Canada uses the "cheaper" drugs, while in the US, doctors prescribe more expensive drugs, because $$ and insurance pays for it. I also had to learn to bill for my services, ie, bill for how long patient's infusion is, bill for what drugs I pushed, bill for dressing change, etc. Crazyness. Furthermore, things get done a lot quicker here.... Primary care doctor at some outpatient clinic orders an MRI, a few days for insurance to approve it, and voila, MRI is scheduled next week. In Canada, unless a patient was in-patient at a hospital, no way they'd get MRI that fast.


I get paid a lot more $$ here, and am not stuck working for a single medical/hospital network (closest equivalency to BC's health authorities?). Your pay scale is based off years of experience ANYWHERE, not seniority in the same health authority.


Hope that helps.

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