Can I do pediatric respite duty with my client while on vacation in Mexico?

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I currently work as a pediatric respite nurse in BC, Canada. The family whose son I take care of are planning a trip to Mexico for 8 days and have asked me to accompany them. I am unable to find out if my license is valid to work in Mexico for those 8 days to support him. Any ideas? I have already tried BCCNM.

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Specializes in Tele, ICU, Staff Development.

Pediatric respite care services give parents and families a break from caregiving duties. These services are essential for maintaining the well-being of both the caregiver and the child. However, these services usually occur within the region or country where you are licensed and may not be transferable to an international setting without proper authorization.

Working as a nurse in Mexico may be more complex than it appears due to work permits and licensing requirements. 

Your client must understand that this is a significant matter. They are asking you to work casually as a nurse in a foreign country where you do not hold a license for an 8-day vacation, which means the professional risk and liability is entirely on you. 

Working as a pediatric respite care provider for a family on vacation in Mexico involves understanding the legal and professional regulations that apply to your nursing license and the care services you can legally provide abroad.

I strongly advise against practicing as a nurse in a foreign country without proper licensure through official channels.

Understanding Professional Regulations

First, verifying if your nursing license from Canada is valid for providing care in Mexico is crucial. Each country has its regulations regarding healthcare professionals practicing within its borders, and typically, a license from one country is not automatically valid in another.

You've mentioned attempting to find this information through BCCNM (British Columbia College of Nurses and Midwives); however, they may not provide specifics on working internationally.

Moreover, it's important to note that if you are a registered nurse from a country outside of Mexico, your credentials may not be automatically recognized within Mexico.

Before you can practice as a nurse, you must contact the appropriate Mexican authorities to determine if your education and qualifications can be transferred and the specific requirements to obtain a valid nursing license in Mexico.

Given these factors, it seems unlikely that you could casually work as a nurse in Mexico for the duration of a vacation.

The process is neither simple nor immediate, requiring planning, understanding legal requirements, and potential recertification or licensing within Mexico.

Navigating the requirements for nursing practice in a different country can be complex, and ensuring that you are legally allowed to practice as a nurse in Mexico is essential.

Here are some steps you can take to gather more information:

  • Consider legal and insurance aspects. Considering the legal and insurance aspects of working abroad would be best. Ensure you have adequate that covers you internationally—additionally, being informed about what happens if there's a medical emergency or a need for professional medical support in Mexico is important. The family you work with should also be aware and agree to any arrangements relating to your care provision in Mexico.
  • Verify with the family. Communicate with the family you work for and ask if they have consulted with any local authorities or agencies in Mexico regarding the employment of a foreign nurse. They may have insights or contacts that can assist in the process. 
  • Contact the Mexican Nursing Regulatory Authority. Reach out to the regulatory body responsible for nursing licensure in Mexico. In Mexico, nursing is regulated at the state level, so you may need to contact the specific state's regulatory authority where you plan to work. They can provide information on whether there are temporary licensure provisions or any specific requirements for foreign nurses.
  • Contact the Canadian Consulate in Mexico. Get in touch with the Canadian consulate or embassy in Mexico. They may be able to guide the legal aspects of working as a nurse in Mexico, including any specific requirements or permits needed.
  • Consult with a legal professional. Seek advice from a legal professional, such as a lawyer specializing in healthcare or international law. They can help you temporarily navigate the legal requirements and potential challenges of practicing nursing in Mexico.
  • Confirm that your professional liability insurance covers international work.
  • Consider contacting nursing agencies or organizations in Mexico specializing in healthcare staffing. They may have experience dealing with foreign nurses and can provide information on the legalities and requirements.
  • Explore nursing agencies. Consult international nursing organizations or bodies that facilitate cross-border nursing practice. They may have resources or guidelines regarding temporary nursing practice in different countries.
  • BCCNM follow-up. You've mentioned attempting to find this information through BCCNM (British Columbia College of Nurses and Midwives); however, they may not provide specifics on working internationally in such a scenario. It's advisable to contact the regulatory health authority or a professional nursing association in Mexico to inquire about temporary licensing or any special permits that may be required for you to practice in Mexico legally for the duration of the vacation.
  • Emergency preparedness. Have a plan in case of medical emergencies that outlines how to access healthcare services in Mexico.

It's crucial to have a clear understanding of the legal and regulatory framework to ensure that you can provide care safely and within the boundaries of the law while in Mexico.

Always prioritize patient safety, professional integrity, and adherence to local regulations.

Very best wishes,

Nurse Beth


Specializes in School Nursing.

You also need to discuss this with the company/agency that you work for. Chances are they will frown on this because of the legalities, and licensure issues that are present.