Need advice- Canadian wants to know about US

Nurses General Nursing


I am a "mature" nursing student about to graduate in May. I have been actively looking in the US for a few weeks now and have focused on AZ and CA for job opp. The nursing shortage here is getting close, but mostly confined to the larger Canadian cities and I would like to work full time. Locally they are still only offering part time.

Three months of my pregrad has been in a ICU setting- and as a Canadian RN student I have had extensive clinical hours.

I guess the question I have is- what type of concerns should I have when talking to some of the US hosptials- how easy is it to find out the pay rates, if they are unionized, what the working conditons are like?

Where is the best place to look in the US as far as opportunites go?

I want to go to a ICU setting to start- I am starting a critcal care course next month...but I need to decide which part of the country to focus on.

Any info would be greatly appreciated.

JP in Canada

Here in Houston, Texas there are many opportunities for internships in any field you may be interested in. They start in June for new grads. is the Houston Chronicle and has job postings in the Classifieds. Check them for the Sunday postings. I had my choice of 3 ER internship offers right out of school. I had two Canadian nurses in the internship program with me.

The cost of living in Texas is HALF what it is in California. There are no state taxes or personal property taxes. I am a transplanted yankee from Pennsylvania and moved here almost 10 years ago and love it. It's hot, but I love it. The medical center is one of the best in the U.S. We have Hermann Hospital, Ben Taub, St. Josephs and MD Anderson Cancer Center, to mention a few. And many, many rural hospitals.

There are no unions here, and you really don't want a union anyways. It takes away from the professionalism of nursing.

Just a suggestion. Good luck with what ever you choose! smile.gif

Specializes in ER.

Hi, I am a transplanted Canuck, from Nova Scotia. You don't need to go as far south as that, something I wasn't aware of. There are jobs in the northern states as well, they are just not as hard hit by the shortage yet, and have not advertised in Canada.

I am very pleased with the move although I raally didn't want to leave home. There is the exchange rate in your favor, and I am making about $20/h as a full time, where in Halifax I got $18/h as a per diem. Groceries are slightly cheaper, gas is half price, and the town I live in has rental and real estate for about half of Halifax. You can get a green card, although people I have worked with for years have been trying to get through the process, and it takes YEARS. I choose to go with an annual visa since I live in Maine, costs $60/year, and about 5 minutes of paperwork at the border. You have to physically leave the country and come back to renew though.

Ummm, the hospital I work in has a critical care position open too, interested?

Whether you are or not email me and I will answer as many questions as I can.

[email protected]


I am also a transplanted Canadian in the US. Have worked here in several states over the last 10 years. I am presently in Louisiana, working as a CNS. I presently have a green card (which did take 6 months to get ) but I worked on a visa prior to that for many years. My suggestion to you is to hook up with an agency that specializes in placing Canadian nurses and is used to dealing with all the paperwork and can answer many of your questions as well as offer you many different working options. One I have used in the past is Procare. They advertise in the back of Nursing2001 and other nursing journals. Good luck and feel free to email me if you have any other questions. The hospital I work for is also recruiting big time and in fact will be going to the Toronto area soon to recruit!

Hi I'm from Alberta. Just interested in why you want to go to the states there are lots of ICU jobs here and the Capital Health region here in Edmonton offers critical care course to new hires. Beginning salary $21.54/hr. If you want more information write me [email protected]. But perhaps you are looking for the US adventure and thats ok too.


Follow this link

Select Healthcare and Practitioners.

Then select the state that you want to work.

That should give you an idea of what the payscale is for that area.


SUBQ! biggrin.gif


Specializes in CV-ICU.

We have a travelling RN from Manitoba in our unit who has found that she loves our unit. And even though we're in Minnesota, she did move south (for the warmer climate!) Seriously, she's worked in Florida, Louisiana, and a few other states and found that right-to-work isn't all it's cracked up to be. I guess she was used to the union in Manitoba, and was surprised at the difference in non-union settings.

Hi JMP! I am from Ontario, mature student too, currently working in Texas. I hear you loud and clear about the shortage of fulltime jobs in the smaller cities there! I understand that some hospitals there are offering sign on bonuses to recruit us back home but for casual positions. Not too enticing to leave full time jobs here.

I have to tell you that in the San Antonio area there is a huge shortage of nurses. But there is a very good reason WHY. The working conditions are horrendous. I disagree strongly with TXERRN on the issue of unions! You DO and will want a union if you come here! It does not take away from the professionalism of nursing, it would create sanity in a system gone insane. If you've ever been unionized and decide to come to the States you will learn this for yourself. You'll also see how the other half lives. We think we had poor people on Welfare in Canada, but you'll see here what poor really is and it's a shocking heartbreaker.

On the upside? I make good money here working for an agency, about $30/hr US. The taxes are lower, I get a big refund every year, but I also pay big bucks for healthcare insurance. Houses are cheaper here, as are most groceries and gas. The people for the most part have treated me wonderfully too.

When I go home for a visit? I laugh at the fact that everything I buy there is "half price for ME", but I realize how much I miss it there too. It is hot here! Really HOT in the summer. Like you stepped into a sauna when you venture out of the air conditioned

areas. Sometimes it feels like we live in a can because everything is air conditioned by necessity.

Good luck to you. In the end the decision is yours, but why not look to the larger centers there before you decide to head down south?


The job opportunities in the U.S. are many and varied. Just wondered if you knew that Alberta and B.C. are actively recruiting nurses? Alberta is on the higher end of the pay scale, around $39/hr CA.

Specializes in Med/Surg, ICU, Cardiac ICU.

Hi! I am a transplanted Canadian working in TX for the last 8 years. I got my green card (took about 7 months). Sorry bunky, TX has been quite great for me. My hospital has good nursing care hours and although we are also feeling the crunch of the shortage, we have good support from administration in trying to have adequate coverage. And that doesn't mean 10 patients per nurse. We've been averaging 6 - 7 on our busiest days. The cost of living in West Texas is very good, housing and gas being about 2/3 of what Alberta is paying. Also, full time is given with benefits like healthcare, retirement packages, etc.

On that note, I just took a trip "home" to Alberta last month to visit a relative in the hospital. When they discovered I was a nurse, they gave me the recruitment speech. But they could not guarantee full time hiring. They would only hire part-time although you could sure work the full time hours if you want shifts over schedule. And I sure wasn't told $39/hour! It was a lot closer to the 21.54 that CathyRN quoted. This was at a major hospital in Edmonton.

+ Add a Comment