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Getting a US license?

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Anyone here have a Canadian and US license? Is it worth getting one to work in the US? Is the whole process worth the hassle? How difficult is it to maintain it?

Silverdragon102, BSN

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

Unless you have definite plans to work in the US you have to ask the question do you really want one?

Fiona59

Has 18 years experience.

State licences are cheaper but the exam costs money. Which states would you be looking at?

joanna73, BSN, RN

Specializes in geriatrics.

Unless you're booking a travel assignment, it's probably not worth going to the US. Their economy is in the toilet and the working conditions are not favourable.

State licences are cheaper but the exam costs money. Which states would you be looking at?

New Mexico

Unless you're booking a travel assignment, it's probably not worth going to the US. Their economy is in the toilet and the working conditions are not favourable.

The working conditions are worse than Canada? Hm, I thought it's better as they have CNAs everywhere

JustBeachyNurse, RN

Specializes in Complex pediatrics turned LTC/subacute geriatrics. Has 11 years experience.

The working conditions are worse than Canada? Hm, I thought it's better as they have CNAs everywhere

Not necessarily. Often budget cuts and failure to replace staff lost causes high ratios and mandated overtime. Only CA requires safe nurse: patient ratios by law but not in ever practice setting. There is no nursing shortage in much of the US so it's an employers market. Some highly impacted areas have nurse unemployment rates of 20-47% but due to low insurance reimbursement facilities won't adequately staff units.

Hi! I had to sign up on this website just to answer this question. I am a US RN. I am in Las Vegas NV and an ICU RN with almost 6 years experience. Unless you just want to see the US via travel nursing i would highly suggest that you stay in

Canada. I don't know what the typical working conditions are like in Canada however I can tell you they are very unfavorable here. Not sure where the idea about us having CNA's came from lol Management is quick to fire and slow to hire. If someone leaves they are very slow to replace. If they can keep the workforce skeleton crewed. They will. I work in a mixed stepdown and general ICU. It is a rare thing to only have 2 ICUs to 1 RN. Mostly we have 1 RN to and ICU and 2 stepdowns; or 1 RN to 2 ICUs and 1 SD; or 4 SDs; or whatever concoction you can derive from a mix of med-tele, ortho/neuro, ICU, and sd. We do not get CNAs. They are phasing out our unit secretaries/HUCs, they only have 1 EVS/house cleaner employees for the hospital on nights so you as the RN are responsible now for literally everything. We also do not have an in house physician other than the ER physician so if you need anything you have to call your on call physician. It's very challenging to work here. Consider that it is becoming even more challenging.

There is a huge nursing shortage here and it's only getting worse. Hospitals want to hire experienced nurses not new grads for cost. There's a shortage for experienced RNs. But if you don't hire new grads then comes the problem of burning out current experienced ones and those who are retiring. I think it is around 80% of RNs leave the profession here in the US. I love those I work with. I love the diversity and even the experience you can gain here in the US however, it is dangerous to your license and can burn an RN out quickly.

Sorry for the book but I'm very passionate about this. And yes our transition to Obama care and our economy is screwing our healthcare over.

Edited by CoffeeFreak4Eva
Added info

fenders

Specializes in ICU, Trauma, Neuro, Informatics. Has 7 years experience.

I work on both sides of the border. It took me some time to get everything together. i got my Ny license and then applied for cgnfs. To me it's all a money racket. Almost like I had to verify my credendials 3 different times. COst about 1000-1500 cdn. But for me was worth it as I got a part time /per diem job in an ER across the border. I buy alot of stuff over there so it was great to have us money for florida trips and purchases. Now that the dollar is declning I am picking up a few more shifts. My work offered me a 3 year TN visa. I personally think it's a good working experience. We can do blood gases over there and they have IV tylonel which I thought was cool. Any questions send me a message. My collegues told me that californina pays the highest and it varies state to state. pay is allright with ny state but not the greatest.

I have worked in both countries and applied for a license in Michigan a year after graduating. My intention was to apply by endorsement to California, so you if change your mind about New Mexico and consider Cali I'm not sure if it's worth the money to apply as they didn't deem my BScN as being up to their educational standards and denied me a license. Anyways, my experience in Michigan was not good. Less pay than here in Ontario (although cost of living in Michigan and other places in the US is cheaper than here and your income is taxed less), hospital was very short staffed and they fired nurses over insignificant incidents (I was mandated to work 16hr shifts overnight because of sick calls), patient admissions/discharges were driven by profit from their insurance as opposed to suitability of that patient for our hospital (worked in psych, this led to many assaults and a patient killing another patient), healthcare benefits weren't very good (you have some coverage, but there is a co-pay for everything so you basically still pay for healthcare), and there are guns everywhere down there. I don't know if it's because I'm from a small city in Canada, but that was unsettling for me and working in psych you actually see how many people who have access to firearms that are mentally unstable. If you truly want to work in the US, it is worth it for experience, travel, taking advantage of shopping and cheap wine (haha), but if it's just something you want to have "in case" you want to work there don't bother until you are sure. You have to pay state licensure fees, NCLEX fees, CGFNS fees, and other additional fees depending on the state then to upkeep your license many states require continuing education hours plus the usual renewal fee. It wasn't difficult to get a TN visa, but the process for licensure can be long depending on the state so I would only go for it if you are serious, or if you have a few years experience in a specialty go through a travel agency so they can assist you with the process and find assignments for you in your state of choice. I am considering applying for a Florida or Hawaii license soon. To live in a warmer climate and enjoy the outdoors more outweighs the cons of some of the US working conditions for me.

fenders

Specializes in ICU, Trauma, Neuro, Informatics. Has 7 years experience.

That's Intersting StudentRs, I initially got a Michigan License but it wasn't considered equal to NY state. The mentallity on guns is a little crazy.. I just wanted to mention that hawaii is beautiful but it is very very expensive for food, cost of living. I've been to all the islands and almost took a flight nurse job there but thought of not being around family and noone would visit you cause of the cost lol. I did admire that I saw 80 year olds on surf boards. There is also a lot of poverty in hawaii, there's no middle class there it's either poor or rich.

Kissunshine, BSN, MSN, RN, APN, NP

Specializes in Nurse Practitioner. Has 8 years experience.

I am a canadian and has been working for 1.5 year in ICU. I am in the process of moving to US, got a few job offers from US (TX and CT), did my nclex and now waiting for my visa screen to go through. I have been visiting the hospitals I might go work for and the condition is really bad compare to Canada, even the Magnet Hospital. There is very little break during a 12hr shift, the pay is the same of what i am getting paid in Montreal but the living expenses are 1.5X.

I am moving there because i want to eventually do grad school, but if you are thinking of getting more money then no, it is not worth it.

fenders

Specializes in ICU, Trauma, Neuro, Informatics. Has 7 years experience.

Good to see others insight in this. In my case it's just extra money for spending over there. But yeah in the ED I work at they don't take breaks at night. There are times when it isn;t so busy but then alot of times where it's full and you can;t keep up with the pt turnaround. The aids where I work used to do vitals but they stopped it. I don;t understand how they are able to do ekg's but can;t do vitals. They want vitals q2h which is sometimes very hard to accomplish. What I do like however is the medhost system they use which is all electronic. And they have IV tylonel. I plan on going back to full time in Canada in the near future though. It's a good experience I suppose. I heard it can vary from state to state.

Hi, which state border are you referring to? I'm currently in Montreal my oil is under process. I'm planning to get my NY license since I passed nclex before. Just to keep my options open. But I'm on permanent resident at the moment here in Canada. Do u think it's possible for me to work let say, in Burlington or plattsburg ny since it's closer border? Thanks?

Silverdragon102, BSN

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

Hi, which state border are you referring to? I'm currently in Montreal my oil is under process. I'm planning to get my NY license since I passed nclex before. Just to keep my options open. But I'm on permanent resident at the moment here in Canada. Do u think it's possible for me to work let say, in Burlington or plattsburg ny since it's closer border? Thanks?

As a PR you will need a employer willing to sponsor you and that means a wait of over 2 years before you get a immigrant visa on current wait times. To qualify for NAFTA you need to be a Canadian or Mexican citizen

fenders

Specializes in ICU, Trauma, Neuro, Informatics. Has 7 years experience.

I'm sure you can. It didn't take me 2 years. I did the same as you and got my NY license just in case I was going to use it as I live on the Niagara border. I lucked out and just happened to browse thorough some postings and voila got an offer and letter for part time. I have a 3 year tn visa. The process was new to me as well. Maybe it takes 2 years if your going to reside there. I reside on the Canadian side and work on both sides. I like it. Taxes were even, got money back. Maybe took me a year to get all the paperwork, you need the cgnfs stuff going. NY is alittle harder to get than some of the other states. Harder I mean more painful process. I say go for it. It's a great experience and with the direction of the dollar in the future, could be lucrative. For ny you need nclex, verify credentials for ny state, then verify credentials for cgnfs. I got the nexus pass which helps at the border, less waiting. You need online infection control and child abuse course and i think that's it. You need an offer of ajob before you can get the visa. you need the visa screen as well. cgnfs,500.oo, visa screen 500.00 and ny license 200.00 for 3 years.

NotReady4PrimeTime, RN

Specializes in NICU, PICU, PCVICU and peds oncology. Has 25 years experience.

fenders, please bear in mind that tosca rose is not a Canadian citizen. The process for her will in all probability take much longer than yours did by virtue of that fact. Permanent residents are not covered by TN visas. I'll admit I'm confused that she chose to move to Canada but wants to work in the US. I expect that border crossing on a regular basis for work for someone with a passport from a country other than Canada might be problematic as well. There's a 3 year residency requirement for permanent residents' eligibility for a NEXUS pass.

fenders

Specializes in ICU, Trauma, Neuro, Informatics. Has 7 years experience.

Your sooo right - not ready4primetime. That would take much longer and cause lots of problems with the Border. I thought she was a permanent resident. never mind then lol. Good luck with that.