update: foreign recruitment of nurses

Nurses Activism


Remember the bill that the hospital associations were lobbying for in DC? They one where they tried to get Congress to change immigration law, lower the certification standards and credentials that foreign-educated nurses had to meet & allow unlimited numbers of these overseas nurses to come & fill their vacant positons, rather than fixing the problems that were causing local RNs to refuse those jobs. Well, thanks to the efforts of the ANA and hundreds of pro-active nurses who contacted their senators and congressman and voiced their objection, this bill has been killed in committee and will not be passed into law. (see AJN March 2003)


Hospitals will now not be able to take the easy way out and will not be able to avoid their problems by draining other countries of unlimited numbers of nurses. If they want to fill their vacant positions, sooner or later they will just have to start fixing the problems that are causing them to remain vacant in the first place.

(background: NursingWorld | AJN: 2002: March: The Global Reach of the Nursing Shortage

http://nursingworld.org/AJN/2002/mar/Issues.htm )

Trauma Columnist

traumaRUs, MSN, APRN

97 Articles; 21,237 Posts

Specializes in Nephrology, Cardiology, ER, ICU.



646 Posts

Thank goodness!


121 Posts

"Thank goodness"quoted from


I second that thought! deb

J. Tigana

59 Posts

American nurses, please tell me are you against all foreign nurses working in the U.S.? Or just nurses with lower credentials? To me you are sounding zenophobic and protectionist.


2,099 Posts

Specializes in Corrections, Psych, Med-Surg.

tigana--this has been discussed MANY times at MUCH length on this BB already. Look for thread titles that might relate to your question and read them and you'll have much more information that you could ever want on the subject.

(I didn't know Brits spelled "xenophobic" with a "z.")

Hellllllo Nurse, BSN, RN

3 Articles; 3,563 Posts

Originally posted by J. Tigana

American nurses, please tell me are you against all foreign nurses working in the U.S.? Or just nurses with lower credentials? To me you are sounding zenophobic and protectionist.

No no no.

If your pt is hemorrhaging from a wound, would you simply fill him up with donated blood obtained from elsewhere?

If the wound never stopped bleeding, you would have to endlessly transfuse the pt, until there were none of his own blood left, and still, he would bleed.

Theorectically, if we had many, many pts in this same situation, the supplies of blood from outside sources would be seriously depleted.

In this situation, standards could be lowered in that the need for blood would be so great, and the supplies so limited, lower quality, untested, unsafe blood might be considered acceptable.

A better approach would be to transfuse the pt with a limited quantity of supplemental blood, and at the same time, find the cause of the bleeding and work to stop the hemorrhage, right?

This metaphor applies to the issue of the Ameican "nursing shortage" and recruitment of foreign nurses.

The "patient" in the above scenario is The U.S. The hemorrhaging is the nursing shortage. The pt's blood is American nurses. The transfused blood is foreign nurses.

Simply continually transfusing the pt with blood from outside sources is what short-sighted health care corportions only interested in profits propose we do.

Those of us who actually care about the long-term health of the pt, and the ultimate outcome, demand that we rely on limited transfusion, and put the bulk of our efforts into finding the causes of the bleeding. We must focus our attention on finding ways to stop the hemorrhage, heal the wound, and assist the pt in regenerating and maintaining his own blood supply from within.


2,709 Posts

Tigana, please read the article. Your question is very clearly answered.

No offense is intended towards foreign-educated nurses. What we object to is the focus on using as them indentured servants to fill jobs with such unacceptable conditions that US nurses are refusing to work in. Rather than improving those conditions, the hospitals tried to eliminate the current restrictions on the numbers that they can bring over and reduce their qualifications - including passage of the NYCLEX exam that credentials them. They could then ignore all the problems, put these nurses into the jobs as is, and then have them obligated to accept conditions that are just as unacceptable and dangerous to them as they are to US nurses. This is exploitation. And the drain on the countries these nurses were to come from (Africa, India, Asia) would be at the detriment to their own country. US nurses and the ANA vehemently opposed the hospitals on this and got their bill killed. The current limits, restrictions and qualification standards will remain in effect. Foreign-educated nurses are welcome to work in the US and have the right to do so without being exploited. Now that the hospital cant use unlimited numbers of them as a bandaid on a gaping wound, it will have to actually face the reality of its problem and come up with real solutions.

excerpt from the article:




2,709 Posts

another related article:

The Renewed Push to Recruit Foreign Nurses -

Will the floodgates open again?



2,099 Posts

Specializes in Corrections, Psych, Med-Surg.

I mentioned on another, similar thread, the loophole (L-1 visas) that allows nursing agencies to open branches (i.e. a phone and a desk) in other countries, "hire" local RNs and LVNs in those countries, then do an "intra-company" transfer of these employees to the US and contract them out to hospitals, etc. (This avoids the issue of H1 visas, green cards, etc.)

If there are any problems, such as attempts to organize, stand up for themselves, file unfair labor complaints, etc. against the hiring facilities or these agencies, the "employees" are simply transferred back to their countries of origin and fired.

We can only expect this business to grow.

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