Nurse from Kenya Wants Job in U.S.

  1. Hallo Nurse Beth,

    I am
    an RN working in Kenya, Africa. I have always wanted to relocate and work abroad. I have three kids, 16 yrs, 9 years and 8 years. I'm separated and have been for going 3 years. Kindly advice me how to go about settling there, my children schooling and relocation?

    Dear Nurse from Kenya,

    That's a big question, and I'll stick with the nursing requirements for licensure to get you started.

    To work as a nurse in the U.S., you must apply for licensure by examination as an internationally educated nurse through an individual state. You then follow the state board of nursing (BON) instructions and requirements of your intended state. For example, if you apply in Texas, you would apply to the Texas BON as an international applicant. Your credentials, education, and English-speaking abilities will all need to be evaluated.

    As a start, I would check out the International Education Research Foundation or the CGFNS International Service for nurses. You will need to submit transcripts and perhaps course descriptions. You can also google to find other agencies that walk international nurses through the process step-by-step- for a fee, of course, so be sure they are reputable and have a good record.

    Cultural Adjustment

    A nurse I know from an African country had a great deal of trouble during nursing orientation even respectfully speaking up to doctors, which is culturally acceptable here. In fact, it's expected that a nurse clarify an order until it's clear that said order is appropriate and safe for the patient. She explained that in her country, women are to be soft spoken and never question a doctor.

    The roles are very different as well. She worked in an ED but did not start IVs.
    In her ED, IVs and any interesting procedures were reserved for doctors in training.

    The cultural adjustment is real, but the opportunities are huge.
    I would also try to make contact with nurses from your country who have made the transition and are practicing in the States. They would be a helpful support and source of information for you.

    Here's a Kenyan American Nurses Association Facebook page and also check out the International Forum here on allnurses.

    Best wishes,

    Nurse Beth

    Author, "Your Last Nursing Class: How to Land Your First Nursing Job"...and your next!
    Last edit by tnbutterfly on Nov 8, '17
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    About Nurse Beth, MSN, RN

    Joined: Mar '07; Posts: 1,540; Likes: 4,557
    Nursing Professional Development Specialist; from CA , US
    Specialty: Med Surg, Tele, ICU, Ortho