The grass IS greener: Why Canadian nurses go-and stay-in the USA

  1. (Toronto: May 14, 2009) A study looking at Canadian-educated registered nurses working in the USA found that opportunities for ongoing education, including formal support for graduate education and ease of licensure, in addition to full-time employment, were key factors that contribute to the migration of Canadian nurses to the USA, particularly baccalaureate-educated nurses.

    The study also found that:

    - A greater proportion of Canadian RNs working in the US were employed full-time than their American counterparts, or their Canadian counterparts in Canada.

    - A higher proportion of Canadian nurses working in the US hold graduate degrees, compared with those working in Canada.

    - Canada is viewed as a rich source of young, well-educated RNs with the added advantage of low recruitment costs due to geographic proximity, similar cultures and language, reciprocally recognized orientation and basic nursing training.
    http://bloomberg.nursing.utoronto.ca...tay_in_USA.htm
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    About Anxious Patient

    Joined: Mar '07; Posts: 1,101; Likes: 1,979
    housewife and mother; from US

    13 Comments

  3. by   ShayRN
    I really hope some of our Canadian nurses weigh in on this, I only believe half of what I read. (The other half is love notes from my kids.) You can make statistics say anything and you will always find enough people to say what you want them to say. Please, my respected colleagues from the north. What do you think about this article?
  4. by   Fiona59
    Uhm, the reason that more BScN may (or may not) be working in the US is probably due to the nurse's age. The BScN only became mandatory in the last year in my province. I believe there is one province still graduating diploma RNs. So if you went to nursing school in most provinces up until the last five years you had a choice degree or diploma.

    Most diploma nurses were married and had families and ties to the provinces that helped fund their educations and so would stay. The BScN holders tend to be younger without significant ties to their communities (other than parents and school loans).

    The degree holders are more significantly in debt via student loans than diplomas nurses and of course went south if offered a full time position.

    I work with several nurses (both degree and diploma) who have worked in the US. One broke the contract to return home, the others did the contract and returned home.

    It's like Shay said, you can make statistics do whatever you want.
  5. by   Valerie Salva
    Fiona59,

    What are the reasons your colleagues gave for leaving the US and returning home?
    What have they said about the working conditions in the US, and they way they were treated?
  6. by   goin' places
    Living within an hour distance from the Canadian border, I have worked with Canadian nurses for 18 years. The hospitals that are close to the border have a huge number of them. Our pay is better compared to what they make there due to the exchange rate and also our health care is better, in some aspects. We get a lot of Canadians here for surgery and treatment because the waiting time there is so long.
  7. by   Fiona59
    Quote from Valerie Salva
    Fiona59,

    What are the reasons your colleagues gave for leaving the US and returning home?
    What have they said about the working conditions in the US, and they way they were treated?
    Most had several reasons. They missed the family. Didn't like the weather. Didn't like working in a "private" health care system. One said the racisim in Texas got to them (directed towards the patients and the nurse). Just felt that the "customer" mentality of the Americans just didn't fit with their attitudes towards healthcare. One told me the fact that their health insurance told them which doctors their familty could see for their GP bothered them (HMO?), the cost of health insurance down your way was "nuts".

    I work in an area that fixes people who's overseas surgeries results in complications that our system has to fix. So despite being able to jump the queue and pay for surgery down south, many people are learning that faster doesn't always mean better.
  8. by   SuesquatchRN
    Quote from Fiona59
    I work in an area that fixes people who's overseas surgeries results in complications that our system has to fix. So despite being able to jump the queue and pay for surgery down south, many people are learning that faster doesn't always mean better.
    Where are most of those surgeries performed?
    Last edit by NRSKarenRN on May 17, '09
  9. by   Fiona59
    Pretty much all over the world. Global health tourism seems to be really big business.
  10. by   ArticMidwife
    I have been nursing for 36 years...ugh!! I have worked in small clinics in the Artic, England Canada etc., for me a work environment is what you make of it nowhere is perfect.
  11. by   judybsn
    Most of us go to the U.S. for the working conditions and educational opportunities. We come back to Canada because we miss our families. Your hospitals are amazing!! There is just not as much money in Canada and that is obvious in health care. The best thing in Canada is that everyone has access to care. There are long waits for everything from an ultrasound, to surgery, to appointments with specialists. Basically if you CAN wait, you WILL wait, but if you really need emergency open heart surgery to save your life, you will get it.
  12. by   Fiona59
    Despite our superiority in size our population is roughly 10% of that of the US. Our systems is taxpayer funded, smaller population -- smaller tax base. Any urgent surgery tops an elective, as it rightly should.
  13. by   P_RN
    This probably is a silly comment, but I have never met a Canadian I didn't like. I feel a real sisterhood with you Nurses who are members here. I've never travelled to Canada and probably will never now that I am "elderly: aka forgot to renew my passport" but hooray for Canada-and everyone else who is a Nurse from where ever.
  14. by   Fixit
    Funny that the article says Canada needs to 'develop strategies to retain' it's own RN's...And in the US we've been seeing articles saying the exact same thing for at least the last 15 yrs. So maybe the grass only looks greener in the US.

    Over a course of 18 yrs in various medical jobs and as an RN I've worked with 7 nurses from different Canadian provinces. They all eventually finished their contracts and went back home. Most said they just really missed Canada and being near their families.

    We had a great vacation when we took the family to Vancouver in '03. I'd like to visit Quebec and I'd love to see Newfoundland someday.

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