hello everybody, i am an icu nurse in austria and am about to migrate to the u.s. early next year to work in the icu. i just want to ask (especially nurses from european countries) what are the main "differences" in working as a nurse between the u.s. and europe? i am aware that the basic nursing principles are similar worldwide... but there are certainly differences too, like time schedules, charting, doctor's rounds, nursing documentation, etc. Can somebody share his/her experiences? I am quite nervous because I am working here in austria for 10 years already as an icu charge nurse and I fear that i will have difficulty in adjusting since i already got used to the icu routines here..... kindly enlighten me on this.... thank you very much! any kind of input will be appreciated!
Dec 19, '02
WOW! I am so envious. I would love to be able to do nursing in different parts of the world!!
Don't have any experience to share, but welcome to the board!!
Dec 19, '02
I started in 71 in the UK, worked for a charity in Iran. Migrated to USA in 87 and have worked in three states now, including a six year period as faculty.
The differences are really no worse than changing specialty or facility. It's the little things that make you feel inadequate e.g. I did not know Tylenol was the trade name for acetaminophen or that 'notes' and 'charts' are used differently here. But patients are the same, health and illhealth are the same. I did do a 'refresher' course thru a junior college and I did volunteer to get the feel of the system, but neither was vital. As an ICU nurse you have the assessment skills and the physiology. Yes the interventions will be a little different. When starting on a new unit here it's usual to be offered an orientation process and a preceptor for a while. If they are not offered, quietly insist. The best facilities will offer these.
The USA likes a positive attitude, so list what you are sure you know and think about that often. Be clear that you will need help with medication names (especially trade names, although pharmaceutical names are usually the same) and with interventions. Each facility/unit will have protocols that vary and it takes a lot of time to understand these differences. There's no easy way, but just to read the policies and procedures manual on your unit in every spare moment (or ask for work time in which to do this), then read it. Take it slow and steady with a shared patient assignement. Doucmentation will be different - remember the increased risk of litigation here and ask for help from the risk management team before you work alone.
You will not 'hit the floor running,' but a responsible facility will not expect that. Welcome and Good Luck. You can do this and USA patients will be grateful.