Possibly Heading Down to the USA to See If the Grass Is Greener

World International


Hi everybody,

I am going to be graduating this spring 2004 from a BscN program. I recently went to a jobfair which had hospitals from both Canada and the USA which provided me tons of information but also gave me little hope of remaining in Canada. Every Canadian hospital I spoke with told me that as a new grad I would only be able to be hired on casual or part-time with exception to sick kids in Toronto. Unfortunately money is a big issue having to repay all of my student loans so this isn't good enough.

The story was much different when I spoke to the American recruiters who offered me everything I had hoped for and more. I would appreciate if anybody out there who has previously worked in the USA could tell me about their experiences both positive and negative. And also are these packages some of the hospitals offering for real?



6,620 Posts

Sick kids is not the only place hiring new grads full time. People on our unit can't get casual! If you do decide to go to the US, be WARY! A lot of places offer a ton of money because they are such holes that's the only way they can get anyone to work for them. Insist on seeing a hospital in person before taking a job. I think this is especially important if you are going to a bigger city. It's been my experience that urban hospitals in the US are a lot different than in Canada. Remember too that recruiters are often not completely honest. I did go to the US as a new nurse and found myself in a BAD job. I quit and changed hospitals to a much better job within a few months. The US definitely has more job opportunities and better pay, but less unionized workplaces can mean nurses don't always have anyone to help if there are problems with management. If you interview with a US hospital make sure to ask about ratios, floating, mandatory OT, on call, etc. before you take a job. I don't regret my time in the US and will probably go back eventually, but I think it's best to go into it with your eyes wide open.

canoehead, BSN, RN

6,856 Posts

Specializes in ER.

I moved to the USA 6 years ago and have had an outstanding experience. I also know that hospitals in Nova Scotia are hiring new grads if you feel like staying in Canada. PM me if you need more information.


413 Posts

I also spent time in the US before moving back 2 years ago. Over the 12 years I was there I worked in 8 different hospitals in different parts of the country. I do agree that there is some benefits to unionization, less surprises. I suggest you find a good agency that specializes in placing Canadian nurses in US hospitals.

And yes some of those offers sound too good to be true but there is money to be made. I was origianlly enticed to the US by a hospital offering substantial bonuses to work nights and/or weekends. I worked my butt off but made lots of money, however this very famous hospital was not where I would have wanted to go if I had been ill. For example, at the time they were only just starting to develop a procedure manual! I was appaled, people did what they felt to be right with no consideration to evidence etc. Very different from what I was used to at home.

On the other hand I also worked at some excellent facilities. I think going to the US is a great learning experience but expect some surprises along the way and remember, Canada will always welcome you home.

FYI I also know of some full time opportunities in Southern Ontario outside of Toronto if you are interested.


76 Posts


As a new grad I was offered TFT only in Canada. I was given full time days, working only 3 12 hour shifts a week with full time benefits. It was an amazing job. Team building and nurse retention was at an all time high. I was able to switch hospital within the corporation and not lose seniority. I was able to pick the days I wanted to work. As I gained experience I even joined a temp agency in the US. I worked in the US for 9 years. I was afraid after 9/11 and came back to nursing in Canada. BIG MISTAKE. I am not appreciated. I am over worked. I cannot have any time off in the summer because i have only 2 years seniority. Scheduling is very inflexable because of the union.

Starting December 15th 2003 I am going back to work in the USA!

FULL TIME DAYS 0730-1600





277 Posts

Would you be willing to share with us where you are working (hospital, location, department). I keep seeing stories like yours. And I wonder what the flip side of the coin is.


18 Posts


You posted that there are full time positions in southern Ontario outside Toronto. May I be so bold as to ask you where? I am originally from south west of Toronto and am looking to relocate back near my family. I have been looking on line at various health region job postings and see mostly small part time or casual positions available. Any direction would be very appreciated:D

Hey Laxation ,

I am currently residing in London Ontario where I work and go to school. I am willing to relocate yet the work still seems to be very scarce unless I choose to go to a more rural area in northern ontario which I am not willing to do...please tell me where these fulltime jobs in ontario are being offered?


76 Posts






27 Posts

I graduated from a Canadian school but never actually worked as an RN in Canada. I immediately took a position in Detroit. It was OK but didn't feel that I got the mentoring I should have. Later I moved to a mid Michigan hospital and was much happier there. I have since left the hospital scene altogether. The one positive thing of working in the US is that there are many more opportunities available to RN's other than hospital nursing.

Of course the nursing shortage is more acute in the US than in Canada so if you take a position here you'll probably work harder - physically and mentally. The money is good, especially once converted to Canadian funds. Although I do enjoy my current job and remain in Michigan ... it is not home. All my family is back in Canada and I do miss the closeness.

That's my spiel.


8 Posts

I have lived and worked in the us for 12 years since I graduated in Winnipeg. I have enjoyed most aspects and think your opportunities down there are far superior. Currently live back in Windsor,Ont. and commute over to Detroit to work in cathlab. The hours are great w. no weekends or holidays and minimal call. I could not get a job like this in Windsor as they have one diagnostic cath lab and the nurse float to icu and do weekends on a rotation. I have obtained my us citizenship a couple of yrs back and am planning a move back to us (Charlotte,Nc.) in about 6 months. You should give the us a try. Overall it is a far superior health system.

Thanks for all of your input...:roll

This is for anybody who has actually done the move down the to the states. When you decided to go down there did you go through a nursing recruiter or did you just send out resumes cold. I'm a bit weary of going through a recruiter because I get the feeling that they will make even the crumbiest hospital seem like heaven on paper until you see it for yourself:confused:

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