52 yr old Foreign RN Can't Land Job

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by Nurse Beth Nurse Beth, MSN (Columnist) Educator Columnist Innovator Expert Nurse

Specializes in Med Surg, Tele, ICU, Ortho. Has 30 years experience.

Dear Nurse Beth,

I’m 52 and a foreign RN. I have my CA RN license but not able to find a hospital position. I have 20 plus years OR hospital position in Italy where I’m from and past 10 years in leadership roles. How do I find a job in hospital? I worked so hard to get my license and now can’t find a job! Thank you for any advice you may have. 

Dear Worked So Hard,

I'm really sorry you are having such a hard time.

Since OR nurses are in demand and highly specialized, one would hope that would help you land a job.

Unfortunately hiring managers don't always "count" overseas nursing experience as equivalent to stateside nursing experience since training and practice vary greatly.

Consider taking a refresher course. Often when taking a course you can network which can lead to possible jobs. Definitely, that should be a central goal of taking a refresher course.

Read my book "How to Land Your First nursing Job...and your next!" for strategies on resumes, cover letters, how to get past applicant tracking systems (ATS) and some bold moves that might be perfect for you and your situation. I'm thinking you might be a perfect candidate to perform a cold call, and I tell how to do it successfully. Sometimes nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Also think about applying to outpatient surgery centers and inpatient procedural areas, such as Interventional Radiology and Endoscopy. Right now the most important thing is to establish your work history, and from there you will soon have more options.

-Also register on Indeed.com and manually look at the hospitals' hiring boards (websites) regularly. 

Very best wishes,

Nurse Beth

2B a Nurse, ADN, BSN, MSN, PhD, RN

Specializes in Geriatrics, Management, Administration, Leadership. Has 43 years experience. 2 Posts

I would like to suggest looking into nursing opportunities with the Veterans Health Administration. The VA is the largest employer of nurses in the Nation. VA nurses are at the bedside and in outpatient clinics working with the entire patient care team to deliver quality care. They are also developing patient safety initiatives, conducting research to evaluate and improve care delivery, and taking on leadership roles to help guide the next generation of nurses. As a retired VA nurse I was able to work within the VA and different states with one state license being they are a federal facility. I have also had the privilege of working with several foreign doctors and nurses . Please take a moment and explore VA nursing opportunities on the VA Careers website. Wishing you the best of luck. 


Specializes in Vents, Telemetry, Home Care, Home infusion. Has 45 years experience. 11 Articles; 17,510 Posts

CA Board of Nursing maintains list of approved RN Refresher courses that will update you on U.S. Nursing + provide network opportunities.   Finding an OR position in an outpatient facility will give you US work experience that may lead to a future hospital position.

Visit Allnurses' Operating Room forum for our members advice.



323 Posts

I’m suggesting checking into Indian Health Service. But you’d need to check the citizenship requirements for a federal job. Same as VA. Maybe try dialysis. They seem pretty open to different situations in nursing.