Canadian RN (BC) moving to Seattle

  1. Hi,

    I am a newly graduate RN from BC, Canada. I have taken the NCLEX exam already in Canada. I got my license to practice in British Columbia, Canada earlier in the year but I never got a chance to practice due to extenuating family circumstances. I have now relocated with my husband to Seattle due to his job.

    I am now starting the process to get a Washington state nursing license. I was wondering how difficult is it to get a job as an inexperienced RN? My nursing preceptorship in 4th year of nursing school was in ICU but I am not picky and open to work in any unit. I used to work as a Nursing Aide in the Medicine Unit during nursing school.

    I was wondering if it is possible for me to get a Nursing Aide job while I wait to get my RN license in Washington State. I am new to this city and was hoping to get some insight on what is the nursing atmosphere is like in this city.

    Hope someone will reply to this thread

  2. Visit hopeless_nurse profile page

    About hopeless_nurse

    Joined: Aug '17; Posts: 5; Likes: 1
    from CA


  3. by   Thanksforthedonuts
    I'm not sure how long processing a license from Canada takes, however Washington state seems to process things quickly on their end. I'm not sure becoming a nurse aid would be worth it in the end if you'll only keep the position a few weeks.
    As a new grad I didn't have a hard time finding a job. I was able to snag one in an acute setting as did most if my cohort. But that also depends on if you have a bachelor's degree. Most hospitals give preference to BSN and above.
  4. by   Gswords
    I was in a similar boat. I graduated and worked 1.5 years in BC before working in Seattle. You may want to look into an RN "nurse residency" program, its basically like an extended new-grad program which transitions you into a full time position. Apply for those at the various hospitals here. There are no health authorities here like in BC, instead there are several non-profit, for-profit hospital networks, you have to apply to each one individually. As for becoming licensed, it was a long process for me with CGFNA.

    As for your idea about working as a nursing aide while you wait for RN license... I'm not sure what your current capacity to work in the US is? Are you a dual citizen or Green card holder? You need a visa to work. I work under a TN visa as an RN, but nurse aide does not count towards that.
  5. by   hopeless_nurse
    Thank you so much for replying! I do have a Bachelor's degree so hopefully that will work towards my advantage. Which hospitals in the Seattle area are new-grad friendly in your opinion?
  6. by   Gswords
    Swedish, Evergreen, and UW Hospitals would be a good start.
  7. by   hopeless_nurse
    Thank you Gswords! It is really good to hear back from someone who has gone through this same process. I am definitely having to go through the long process with CGFNA. It is probably going to take months before it is all sorted and I can get the washington license. I did see some "nurse residency" programs online but I am not sure if I qualify because I graduated last year in May.

    Do you mind me asking how difficult it was to get a TN visa? I have a L2 visa currently and waiting to get my Employment Authorization Document (EAD). I was hoping if my nursing license comes through in between then I was going to apply for a TN because the EAD can take up to 3 months.
  8. by   Gswords
    For TN, its a matter of showing up at the border crossing with all your documents in hand, ie the CGFNS certificate, your BSN degree, WA State license, employment job letter, etc. The last piece was important, you have to get a job offer first, then you can apply for TN. Walked out with my TN in less than 45 minutes. With your EAD you can get that without a job offer, correct? So I basically waited until I got my WA State license, then I started looking for jobs. I made it clear I am Canadian upfront, but most big hospitals have immigration council in their recruiting department so they weren't too put off.

    You will qualify for a nurse residency.
  9. by   NurseNev
    Hi! I'm curious - did you land a permanent position in Seattle? The reason I am asking is I would really like to relocat in the states as well as a Canadian nurse. I will be going on a travel assignment, but would like a more permanent position in contrast to contract work. Thanks!
  10. by   Gswords
    I got a FT perm position. Travel positions pay more, but I wanted to stay longer than a couple months in 1 location so I got a FT. The TN is good for 3 years with option to renew if you want, so I felt a FT would be more convenient.
  11. by   NurseNev
    Wow! So were you sponsored by your employer to get a permanent position? I always thought that having an employer sponsor you was the only way to receive a permanent position in the states as a Canadian nurse. I would really like to stay in one place for more than a few months too!
  12. by   hopeless_nurse
    Gswords, how long did CGFNS process take for you? All my school and licensing information has been sent to them already but none of it is showing up in my online profile with them. It is a mission trying to get a hold of anyone from CGFNS...feeling so frustrated
  13. by   nathan.odonnell
    Hi, are you still looking for a full time Registered Nurse role in the Seattle area? If so, the company I work for DaVita Kidney Care offers full time Nurse roles to new nurse graduates and we offer an extensive full time paid training program. Let me know if you are interested in learning more. - Nathan
  14. by   hopeless_nurse
    Hi Nathan,
    I would like to know about this opportunity. Please email me at Thank you so much for reaching out.