Canadian grad thinking of heading south



I'm from Canada and I'm thinking of heading down to the USA after graduation. I was just wondering if anybody could give me some info on what nursings like down there. It saddens me to say that I spoke to over 30 recruiters from different hospitals in Canada and only 1 could offer me fulltime work. The USA seemed to offer many fulltime positions and from I was told many hospitals have excellent orientation programs especially for new grads. What are the working conditions like, What is texas like for cost of living and even just to live especially around the big city centers? What are the educational opportunities like down there? I would appreciate any information that anyone can offer cause this is a very big choice for me and its rather scary...




1,041 Posts

Has 6 years experience.

Texas has its ups and downs like everywhere else. Ups: 1. there are alot of options in cities--from amongst largest in the country (Houston, Dallas) to small town (West, Eddy) to everything in between (Austin, San Antonio, Odessa). 2. great cultural diversity. 3. Friendly feel to the people, even in the big cities (IMHO).

Downs: Hot as hades in the Summer, and you might never see another snowflake--could be a plus for you since you live in Canada and all. Bugs are huge (eg. mosquitoes as big as a quarter, giant roaches). This is a nonunion state.

Right now I am in Dallas and it is definitely a large city. I was in Waco which is about 100,000+ people, but mostly a Baptist University town. In Waco, you can figure to pay 500+/month for rent on a 1 BR apt. and make about 18.00/hr as a nurse--there are 2 m/s hospitals, and 2 psych facilities. In dallas you will make about 19/hr (and the shift diffs are higher)and there are many many more hospitals...some specialized, some your typical huge chaotic city hospital. You can find an nice apt for around 600+/month (1BR apt). When I moved up to Dallas I went grocery shopping my first week and found that I could actually save money by driving 100 miles south to Waco to get my groceries--so I'm factoring in gas. Fortunately these places run sales which brings the prices down on those select items. Speaking of gas, right now gas I hace seen gas range from low 1.30s to 1.50s for regular in Dallas. Waco is typically .03-.10 less per gallon.

You don't mention what your post grad plans are (specific type of nursing you want to get in to), so I can't make any specific recommendations, but I do hope what I've given you helps give you somewhat of an idea.

If there is anything else I can help you with, feel free to ask.


4,516 Posts

I've worked with lots of Canadian nurses on travel assignments in Texas and the great majority felt the working conditions in the US were horrid compared to Canada. Ask on the travel or Canadian areas for more info...just wanted to clue you in on this. They also have shared with me they feel the nursing care is lax in comparison. I may see some truth in something has to give in the conditions we practice in. We can only do so much, and most of us WOULD like to be doing a better job....but can't due to situations not under our control.

I'm sorry to hear new grads have trouble finding FT positions in Canada..I recall Fergus spoke of this here at one time.

If you wish to relocate here, yes there are lots of hospitals in my area (Dallas Fort Worth) that offer new grad internships. You would not have trouble finding a position here at all. Methodist Hospitals in Dallas are one of the larger teaching hospitals to offer this and is quite dedicated to helping new grads make the transition.

As far as the license transfer/test requirements, a traveler would have to answer your questions as I have no idea.

Best wishes on your future plans! PM me if I can give you more info. :D

mattsmom81 Thanks for your reply. I was wondering if you could tell me a bit about how the new grad transition/internship programs work. We really dont have anything like that here in Canada but I've been hearing a lot about that in the USA lately. Here we have an allotted amount of time to complete 450 hrs of hospital time in an area of our choice.......and you basically get thrown in after you graduate... whats it like in the USA?:confused:


4,516 Posts

I will share what I know: I interviewed for a PT educator position in one of these programs and it sounded like a great way for new nurses to acclimate to 'real life' nursing. It was a combination of classroom and clinical checkoff skills and the opportunity to practice skills unlearned in nursing school, and apply them to facility policy and procedures. The program combined hospital orientation and new nurse orientation into one several month long program. Programs like this are taking off in quite a few large hospitals in my area, the one I am referring to is Methodist Hospitals in Dallas, Texas. I am sure you can search for them on the net, contact the hospital and get more info about their program if you wish....good luck!!

I bet other nurses from the area know more about this than me...anybody out there who can give more info??


6,620 Posts

Mattsmom, I had to laugh when I read your post. We had a nurse here in Canada CONSTANTLY talking about how much better things were in Texas when she was a traveller there!!! So, take what you hear with a grain of salt:)


4,516 Posts

well I'm glad we gave one Canadian nurse a good experience...LOL!

Maybe some of what I hear is just 'grass is greener'

I don't want a nurse to come here and be shocked, which is why I have shared my Canadian travelers' sentiments. They have told me they enjoyed the whole experience as an adventure into a different country, deffierent healthcare system, etc..


6,620 Posts

I'm sure it is the grass is greener attitude! I think there are so many regional differences between hospitals in any country or state that it's hard to say one way or the other which is better.... So I guess we'll have to call it a draw;)


4,516 Posts

part of my concern with the OP is she is a new grad and she will be learning 'real life' nursing in a different system than what she trained in. But of course if one keeps an open mind it is surely doable!

Good luck to you and let us know what you decide, or if we can answer any more questions. All the Canadian nurses I have worked with have been excellent. :cool:

Near Done Nurse, I suggest you go to Houston or Dallas if you are looking to further your education in nursing. They have top ranked grad. schools in Houston. I will probably be in one of these areas sometime next year, although I dread the thought of traffic. Unfortuanantly I am a small town boy who needs a graduate degree. I know Baylor Medical Center (Dallas) will be having a job fair I think in Feb. 2004. I've heard from other students that job fairs are a great way to find jobs in these cities. I recommend you do what MattsMom suggested and search hospitals in the cities you are interested in and have them send you info. via email/snail mail. Everyone I have emailed has been very helpful. They will give you their phone number so you can set up a meeting when you are down and might even let you shadow a nurse depending on the unit. good luck.

MattsMom, when you say Methodist are you refering to Harris Methodist in Ft. Worth? I'm not familiar with the dallas hospitals yet. Have you heard anything about their critical care internships there or those at All saints, John Peter Smith, or Parkland?


4,516 Posts

Harris Methodist is a different system (Texas Health Resources I believe). I am referring to Methodist Hospital of Dallas...big teaching center affilliated with SW medical school (as well as Parkland) and they have a satellite in a suburb, Charlton Methodist. They definitely have a large new grad internship program.

I know they have critical care internship programs as well at most of the large facilities you mentioned. I work more in the Fort Worth area so sorry, but I don't have Dallas insider info for you (HATE driving to Dallas...altho I liked to go to Methodist to work agency in the past...liked their critical care units. :)

Good luck to you!


4,516 Posts

Originally posted by EricTAMUCC-BSN

Have you heard anything about their critical care internships there or those at All saints, John Peter Smith, or Parkland?

From my own personal experience, HCA Medical Plaza in Fort Worth has an excellent critical care clinical nurse specialist, Joyce Putnam, who offers a solid critical care internship program. I'm not sure about the others. Good luck in your quest!

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