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Claire Speaks

RN, internationally-trained Nurses consultant

French Nurse since 2009. American RN since 2018. Consultant for internationally trained nurses seeking to get their license in the US since 2017.

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Claire Speaks has 11 years experience and specializes in RN, internationally-trained Nurses consultant.

In 2009, I graduated nursing school in France. I met my now husband online the same year and moved to the USA in 2014. Early 2013, I started the process of getting my license in the USA. In the meantime, I was writing a (french) blog to explain the process step by step. Many french nurses came to me for help and in 2017 I decided to make it my job. I started my consulting agency "American Career Horizons" (formal named "Claire Speaks - Consulting & Coaching Services") and I am now a consultant for internationally-trained nurses, other professionals and students from all around the world. My goal by starting this business was to help nurses as much as I possibly can to make their process easier and smoother, as everyone knows it can be very frustrating and challenging. 

Claire Speaks's Latest Activity

  1. For a foreign educated nurse, going through the CGFNS's Credential Evaluation, Certification Program or Credential Verification services, can be quite a hassle. It is indeed often the most dreaded step of the process when it comes to getting licensed in the US. Here is the good news though: the CGFNS is not always mandatory to get your license in the USA*. Some states accept other organizations, like the ERES, which are much faster and easier to work with. Some Boards of Nursing do not even require for you to go through any other organization than them for your credential evaluation. That is, for instance, the case with the New York State Board of Nursing. And I already hear you asking "What!? I don't need the CGFNS for New York?". The answer is NO! You don't! Great news, right? Now let's talk about it more thoroughly. First of all, on their website, the New York State Board of Nursing currently recommends that applicants go through the CGFNS--the reason being that, in their opinion, it makes it easier for the applicant. Unfortunately, this is rarely true. Admittedly, until just a few months ago the CGFNS would simply contact nursing schools and licensing authorities themselves and you basically only had to wait. However, in most cases, the CGFNS would end up asking for additional information which would lengthen the process. Sometimes the CGFNS's correspondences would even get lost, which as you can guess, would make the whole process even more of a struggle. One other benefit was that the CGFNS would not require translations for the transcripts and other documents but that's no longer the case. For a few months now, the CVS process has changed and the CGFNS now requires the same documents as the ones for the CES and CP. Therefore, the applicants have to contact their school and licensing authority themselves and take care of the translations as well. And just like before, if after 6 months the CGFNS has not received all of the required documents, they will send your file to the board anyway even if it is incomplete. The board will then ask you to have your school and licensing authority send them everything they need, plus the translations, which is exactly where you started. You will have lost time and money... So why would you go through the CGFNS when you can go directly through the Board of NY for your credential evaluation? Well, other than for immigration purposes*, there is simply no reason for that! Indeed, when you go directly through the Board of Nursing to get your equivalence in New-York State, you will find the process a lot easier. First, you will have to get the forms on their website. Then you will send one (the 2F) to your foreign nursing school and one (the 3F) to your licensing authority. They both have to send them directly to the board completely filled out along with the appropriate documents requested (with English translations for everything written in a foreign language). This process can take less than 4 months (I just had this situation with a client). As you can see, it is much faster than the CGFNS and also a lot less stress. It is true that if you are planning on coming to the USA through a sponsored work visa, you will have to go through the CGFNS for your Visascreen anyway, as they are the only one offering that service. But even in that case, some people would rather get their US license without dealing with the CGFNS and simply go through them afterward for their Visascreen. After having dealt with both situations through my clients, I would recommend to any Internationally-Educated nurses seeking to work in New York State to go directly through the Board of Nursing for their credential evaluation. And if on top of that they are already allowed to work in the US, then I would suggest they forget about the CGFNS completely. Good luck to all, and I hope this article will help you through your process! Claire Speaks. *This information only concerns the process of getting your nursing license in the USA. For immigration procedures, you will have to go through the CGFNS's Visascreen service if you wish to obtain a work visa through a sponsor.
  2. My Dream My name is Claire and I am a french trained nurse. From as far as I remember, I have always wanted to become a nurse. Is it because my mom was one, or because of the hours I spent watching ER on TV? I don't know, but I've never really asked myself what I wanted to become when I grow up. It's always been clear. Little did I know, though, that a few years after I graduated I would become a Registered Nurse in the United-States of America. Beginning My Journey to the United States It all started as a pretty romantic story! In 2009, after graduation, I decided to sign up on a website to discuss with foreign people. I had always wanted to learn how to speak English (and not just at a high school level, which is, let's be honest, pretty primitive). I wrote to 3 different persons on the website and one of them was my now husband. We talked for hours every day for about a year and finally decided to meet in person. After that, we continued to travel back and forth to visit each other for 4 years. Long story short, in 2014 he proposed and we got married in the summer of 2015. Today we have 2 beautiful children. How Does a Foreign Nurse Become a Nurse in the United States? Research But let's go back to when we were still dating in 2011. I started back then to do some research online about how to become a nurse in the U.S. All the information I found were very confusing (and not only because my English wasn't as good as today) so I quickly gave up on the idea. Then in 2013, I decided to look into it more deeply and to actually start the process. CGFNS I signed up on the CGFNS website and paid for the Credential Evaluation Service which was the service asked by the board of nursing of the state where I wanted to be licensed. I also contacted my nursing school and licensing authority to explain to them what they would have to send, that way they could get prepared and be ready when I would mail them the documents. Stumbling Blocks Back then, the CGFNS was a lot faster than lately and also not as demanding (nowadays, they seem to systemically ask for additional information and take forever to process each new document they receive). I got my report done in a couple of months . However, I did not get enough points on the TOEFL even after all the long hours I spent studying for it. I was missing 4 points in the speaking section. A few months after that, my husband proposed and I decided to take a break with the process because it was expensive and we were about to pay a lot of money for my visa and our wedding. Restarting the Process - More Challenges Fast forward to February 2018. My son was then 1.5 years old and I decided that I wanted to restart the process and get done with it once for all. I sent back a few documents to the CGFNS who after 4 years requested new information from my licensing authority. This took a while as the licensing authority's staff responsible for filling out the forms weren't exactly what I call "efficient"... In the meantime, I studied for the IELTS (my TOEFL had expired by then) that I took at the beginning of June and passed. Preparing for NCLEX At the beginning of September, finally, the CGFNS had everything they needed and sent my report to the board of nursing. A week or so later, I got my ATT and scheduled my N-CLEX. At that point, I was pregnant and had a 2-year-old to take care of. I scheduled my test for December 15th that year and for the next weeks/months, I studied as much as possible, all day long. I was giving my son lectures on heart failure, renal disease, pharmacology, .....everything! Of course, he didn't care, but it helps me a lot to remember things when I say them out loud. When I was done reviewing the core content, I started doing questions every single day. I set myself a goal of 150 questions a day. Sometimes I would do a little less, sometimes 300. But every day, for about a month, I took questions (well, to be honest, one Sunday I didn't work at all... but I made up for it the next day!). I took a total of probably around 5000 questions total. Taking NCLEX... And here we were: December 15th, 7.5 months pregnant and stressed as I had never been before. I took the test and after barely 1,5 hour and 82 question the computer stoped. I was absolutely positive I had fail. My husband would tell you that I was completely hysterical (remember, I was very pregnant and therefore very hormonal...which did not help)! But then 48 hours later, I found out through the fast results on Pearson Vue that I had passed and I couldn't believe it! Today... the Journey Continues Today I still haven't started to work as an RN, as I am a stay-at-home mom and entrepreneur (as you can see on my profile). When I was in France, I worked for about 5 years in Orthopedic and Vascular surgery. When I was working on day shifts, I had 14-16 patients to take care of (yes, it is a lot in a heavy surgery ward!) and at night (be seated, please), I had up to 35 patients! The working conditions there as nurses are definitely not as appealing as they are in the U.S. We are also paid more than half less. Sadly, Nurses in France definitely don't feel appreciated for all the hard work they do. So as much as I am terrified to work in the US because of all the language and cultural differences, I also can't wait for this new adventure to start! Follow Your Dream So for all of you, internationally-trained nurses out there, dreaming to get their license in the U.S., as tough, long, and frustrating as the process can be, don't give up! It is doable and so rewarding. You will be proud of yourself and you will be right to be! Good Luck! Claire Speaks.
  3. Claire Speaks

    NCLEX Studying/ Has anyone tried Hurst Elevate?

    Hi, Did you end up taking elevate? If so do you recommend it? I am hesitating too. Currently doing the Hurst review.
  4. Claire Speaks

    CGFNS waiting for approval help!

    I applied for the state of Arkansas and I graduated in 2009. You're welcome! good luck!
  5. Claire Speaks

    CGFNS waiting for approval help!

    I did. I decided to purchase it a few days after I posted here. My report was sent to the board last week and now I am waiting for my ATT... Hopefully I will get it any days now...
  6. Claire Speaks

    CES Report by CGFNS

    Hi, So what happened after your status changed to "in QA review"? I just noticed mine changed to that too today...
  7. Claire Speaks

    CGFNS waiting for approval help!

    Hi Nikuy, the CGFNS got all my documents today... I am thinking of paying for the expedited review... How did it end up going for you?
  8. Claire Speaks

    CGFNS PROBLEM!!!

    Hi, My school received a letter from the CGFNS telling them that they received my transcripts but that they had the following problem: A signature wasn't provided or couldn't be authenticated. They just asked them to verify these information with them in writing. They didn't send any verification form or anything else... Is my school supposed to just write a letter to certify that the records/transcripts come from them and was signed by the director (who would write and sign that same letter)?
  9. Claire Speaks

    Arkansas application by examination

    Hi, I am a french trained nurse and I sent my application for licensure by examination to the Arkansas BON last week. They got it on Wednesday. I would like to know if any of you have an idea of a timeframe for them to get back to me ? (regardless of the fact that I have been trained in France. I already went or am about to go through all the equivalence's steps required) Also, can I do the background check process before I hear from them? (I already paid online for that and got the fingerprints card in the mail) Thank you so much in advance :)
  10. Claire Speaks

    licensure by examination in Colorado

    Hi! My name is Claire. I am a french nurse and I applied on CGFNS in Febuary. I have chosen the expedited service review and my report is already issued. It says that my nursing education and my diploma are both comparable to those of a first-level (registered) nurse in the USA. So now I have to take my TOEFL and get enough points. My boyfriend lives in Arkansas, but I coulnd't apply to the Arkansas BON because they need a US SSN which I don't have yet. So I have chosen to apply to the Colorado BON. We have friends there and my boyfriend will be able to work there maybe... If not, I am planning on asking for a licensure by endorsement in Arkansas when I'll have a work visa a so a US SSN. Anyway, I have a question about my application. What if Colorado decides that I don't have enough hours in one of the specialities? Where and how can I take courses? I would like to be ready if it happens and I have no idea about what to do if they tell me that I have to take more courses.... Do you think you can help me? I hope you understood everything because my english is not perfect! Thank you so much in advance for your answer :)
  11. Claire Speaks

    I PASSED NCLEX-RN! so thank to allnurses.com

    Hi! Could you please send me the pdf? My email is claire.mrc@gmail.com thank you so much in advance!
  12. Claire Speaks

    How to: Applying for the CGFNS CES

    Hi! My name is Claire. I am a french nurse and I applied on CGFNS in Febuary. They received all the documents a few days ago and now my status is "ready for reviews". I chose the expedited service review so it shouldn't be too long until the report is sent to the BON. My boyfriend lived in Arkansas, but I coulnd't apply to the Arkansas BON because they need a US SSN which I don't have yet. So I have chosen to apply to the Colorado BON. We have friends there and my boyfriend will be able to work there maybe... If not, I am planning on asking for a licensure by endorsement in Arkansas when I'll have a work visa a so a US SSN. Anyway, I have a question about my application. What if Colorado decides that I don't have enough hours in one of the specialities? Where and how can I take courses? I would like to be ready if it happens and I have no idea about what to do if they tell me that I have to take more courses.... Do you think you can help me? I hope you understood everything because my english is not perfect! Thank you so much in advance for your answer :)
  13. Hi! I have an important question. My school asked me to do the translations and to send them back the documents so they can send everything directly to the CGFNS. But can I do that without having any trouble since I am going to use my translator who already translated my diplomas ? I am afraid the CGFNS may notice that it's the same translator and that I have had the documents in my hands a period. If that is the case, would they refuse to do my CES? Please help me! Thank you!!
  14. HI aasthaa! I have the same question than you. Did you find the answer?
  15. Claire Speaks

    How to: Applying for the CGFNS CES

    Hi everybody. I am currently appliyng on CGFNS for a CES professional report. On the step 6, I have to indicate which primary, secondary and professionnal schools I went to. I went to two different high schools. 4 years on the first one where I wasn't graduated and one year in the second high school were I was graduated. I would like to know if I have to indicate the both high schools together or if I have to indicate them seperatly. Or if I have to indicate just the last one where I spent at least just one year (the last year of high school). Thank you in advance for your answer!
  16. Claire Speaks

    Credential review problem with IERF

    Hi Fred! I am a nurse and I would like to submit my application for licensure in the USA. In Arkansas. After reading about the CGFNS and the IERF, the second one seems to be easier to me. I saw that you did your CES with them to and that's why I would really appreciate it if you could gice me some advice about how to do exactly. Thank you very much in advance for you answer! :)
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