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Best Countries to Relocate as US New Grad RN?


Hello! I am a new BSN, RN from the United States (I graduated one month ago). I haven’t yet secured my first paid position and am considering relocating out of the US to another English-speaking country. All of the previous posts I’ve seen along these lines are from 10+ years ago, and the articles I’ve found online don’t come to a singular conclusion. What countries do you feel are best for new/inexperienced expat US RNs? I am considering the UK, Ireland, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia, but am open to other options as well (even if non-English speaking— I am good with languages!). By best, I mean salary vs. cost of living, advancement opportunities, job satisfaction and work/life balance, and ease of transitioning as an overseas nurse. Thank you so much for the advice! 🙂

Edited by bayleroni


Specializes in Critical care. Has 28 years experience.

Have you researched how to obtain a nursing license in those countries you mention? You have to realize that nursing in the USA is quite different than nursing the UK or New Zealand, or any of the other countries you listed.....Some countries don't allow RNs or the equivalent in their country to do most of what we do here in the USA. Like in some countries only physicians start IVs or place NGTubes or even urinary catheters...so those tasks that RNs do here in the USA or not always what the nurse's do in those countries. So that is also something to research, scope of practice in those countries. These are the first couple of tasks I'd suggest you research so that you may have better idea of which country more closely mirrors what you learned here in the USA.

I always tell my Senior 2 students to venture out of state (Texas in my case) if they have nothing keeping them in the Dallas area, they can go to any state and work. So that may also be an option for you to consider. Go see another part of the country is what I would suggest as a first step to moving to another country. Best of luck to you.

Silverdragon102, BSN

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

Moved to the International Nursing forum where there are several threads discussing different countries and registration. Also suggest checking out the Nurse Registration forum

Nurses in the US as an average have the best salary compared to cost of living of any english speaking country. You should probably move to a state with higher need then after getting experience seek opportunity further out.

I can’t speak for the BRN in Ireland or Canada, but Australia and New Zealand do not accommodate new grads. Ideally, you would have a few years of experience before applying to be considered. I know that New Zealand requires 2 years of RN experience to even be eligible. I am in the process of applying for nursing licensure in Australia, and it is quite the event - both financially and otherwise. The wages there are much better than in New Zealand.

Unlike the U.S., Australian nursing jobs do not pay that well in metropolitan cities. I’ve seen pretty dismal wages in Sydney and Melbourne, but have seen plenty of competitive wages in Queensland. A helpful tip to keep in mind?

Have a look at BUNAC that company is great for facilitating working holiday visas, relocation and orientation to the new host country. They may have age restrictions which vary from country - it was 30 for New Zealand when I went (as an American) in 2008 (before I got into nursing). Now that I’m a nurse, I’m also interested in traveling abroad but I don’t know how to do it permanently. My best bet now might be to find work in the USA as a commercial medical escort or on an air ambulance that does international missions...


Specializes in Oncology, ID, Hepatology, Occy Health. Has 35 years experience.

I would say get some experience in your home country first.

I have heard of two new grads from the UK coming directly to work in France and they neither of them stayed. The difference in system was too great for a new grad to cope with. Finding your feet in the system you trained in is hard enough! This wasn't even a language issue as they were apparently both French but had trained in the UK.

Find your feet as a trained nurse first, then yes, go work abroad - it's a wonderfully fulfilling experience, but not a great idea when you're brand new to the job.

Good luck.