Canadian nurse wanting to nurse in the US

Published

Hi all!

As the title states, I am interested in finding an agency that would help me head down to do contract work anywhere on the west coast. I'm hoping some people from this amazing community could share some wisdom.

About me: I've got a license in Minnesota but have never actually worked in the US. I have a BSN since 2012 and have been nursing since then. I've done 1 year of M/S, almost 4 years of psychiatry (both inpatient and ER and I prefer psych ER) and taught two semesters of the BSN program at a college.

Is there even any demand for RNs specialized in acute care psychiatry? Is the pay comparable to M/S or less? Is there anyone on here that has successfully done this?

Any input is appreciated :) To be honest, its quite daunting looking at working in the US because of the different levels of healthcare there is when compared with Canada's system.

NedRN

1 Article; 5,748 Posts

Yes, there is a need and pay should be similar to med surg.

You are better off working for larger agencies for two reasons. They will be able to assist you with the red tape for you to work legally in the US. The other reason is that while you will be able to work steadily, psych is a smaller specialty and larger agencies will get more job orders than smaller ones. The two largest are American Mobile and Cross Country. Two others I would recommend talking to are Supplemental Healthcare (also quite large) - they were originally started as specializing in psych and still have an interest. Worldwide was started by some ex-Supplemental staffers and they have a special interest in psych as well. Worldwide also has exotic locations such as the Virgin Islands and Bermuda. Not sure if there is psych at those places for travelers, but they are worth a shot!

silentdivide

9 Posts

Wow, thank you NedRN! Very informative. See this was the difficulty in the first place--I googled various agencies and never came across any of the ones you mentioned.

What I will probably do is check out the agency websites and forward a resume to each of them.

Also, thanks for letting me know there is need. I've got a friend who is a psych nurse in Washington state but it is for a state facility and therefore the pay is poor. Of course this gave me the wrong impression given I have no idea what the world of psych is like in the US.

Thank you again for making this more clear for me!

NedRN

1 Article; 5,748 Posts

I would have constructive conversations with all of these agencies before doing any paperwork, including sending a resume. The ability of your recruiter to communicate clearly with you will be a large factor in your success or failure. In addition, you may be working closely with someone who deals with the legal stuff for Canadians. If I'm not mistaken, you will not get a green card immediately, but have to be tied to a single sponsoring employer. So your choice is much more important than it might be for a US traveler who can easily switch between hundreds of agencies. You want to find out if they can assist you with immigration, how much assistance, talk to the agency expert in the process, make sure you have a good recruiter (you can ask to switch if you are just not on the same page), find out about compensation and locations, and practice settings, and if you will have adequate choices of assignments every three months.

Once you have decided on a good agency to start with, then you can start the paperwork process.

silentdivide

9 Posts

Thank again Ned. This is some great information. I have heard back from a couple already (the two large ones) and am looking forward to how this will transpire. I imagine it will be more challenging given that I do not have a work permit, but I do have CGFNS as a start.