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Recruiting Foreign Nurses

The USA has been experiencing a nursing shortage over the last decade. The numerical relationship between the the number of nurses and patients increased so much that hundreds of nursing positions remained unfilled. Given this fact, the government decided to import a qualified workforce from other countries to decrease the disproportion between the supply and demand of nurses. However, the process of recruiting a foreign workforce brought up negative aspects along with the positive ones.

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It should be noted that the issue of receiving a visa for nurses is generally quite complicated. Obtaining visa requirements depends on the type of work for which a person is applying and the background education (Cortés & Pan, 2014). In addition, the complexities of the USA health care system imply that foreign nurses would seek the help of a lawyer in order to choose the appropriate option. Currently, nurses outside of the United States must apply for a visa H-1B. This implies that nurses have a university degree and apply for the position, which requires the diploma. In order to apply for the H-1B visa, every applicant should take an exam, which is conducted by the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS). Apart from that, the nurse is to have a license to work as a nurse in the H-1B status (Sherwood & Shaffer, 2014). However, the nurses are eligible for applying for a Green Card due to current legislation; nurses have certain privileges in obtaining the residence permit. This privilege remains in force, despite the fact that the process of getting the non-immigrant visa has become more complicated because of the abolition of H-1A visas. Besides visa requirements, the applicant should have a good command of the English language.

Despite the visa complexities, foreign nurses are highly appreciated in the USA because they are well trained and possess high working abilities. Foreign nurses come from all over the world, and this cultural infusion brings new perspectives to taking care of people with different cultural backgrounds. Moreover, foreign nurses have the stipulated work period that they are obliged to fulfill; thus, they will not be able to quit a job immediately, which is advantageous regarding long-term care (Periyakoil, Stevens, & Kraemer, 2013). The H1 visa permits requires staying no longer than three years in the USA. This period temporarily resolves the shortage of nurses and reserves the right of the government to retain or send nurses off.

Notwithstanding certain pros in hiring foreign nurses, there are cons in terms of processes and experiences. The current domestic situation remains unresolved because the American nurses do not get the incentive to work due to the increased wage patterns (Bruyneel et al., 2013). Moreover, a vast number of foreign nurses do not possess a good command of American English and they do not have the training aimed at American hospitals and people, which may result in miscommunication and further misunderstanding (Pittman, Davis, Shaffer, Herrera & Bennett, 2014; Wagner, Brush, Engberg, Castle & Capezuti, 2015). Further on, the process of deploying is long and complex in terms of training and licensing because, apart from visa processes, the nurse needs to take the relevant examinations in language and training.

Recruiting nurses from outside the USA has been used as a method to address the nursing care demands in the country and the effectiveness of it can be assessed in long-term results. Employing an international workforce is a financial overhead compared to hiring domestically trained nurses; it also reduces the intention of American nurses to seek the jobs. Multicultural nurses give solutions to existing health care problems, as well as generate new obstacles to providing high-quality services. Preservation of existing staff and recruitment of new nurses are the essential measures of a durable solution to the shortage issue.


Bruyneel, L., Li, B., Aiken, L., Lesaffre, E., Van den Heede, K., & Sermeus, W. (2013). A multi-country perspective on nurses’ tasks below their skill level: Reports from domestically trained nurses and foreign trained nurses from developing countries. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 50(2), 202-209.

Cortés, P., & Pan, J. (2014). Foreign nurse importation and the supply of native nurses. Journal of Health Economics, 37, 164-180.

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Periyakoil, V. S., Stevens, M., & Kraemer, H. (2013). Multicultural long-term care nurses’ perceptions of factors influencing patient dignity at the end of life. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 61(3), 440–446.

Pittman, P., Davis, C., Shaffer, F., Herrera, C. N., & Bennett, C. (2014). Original research: Perceptions of employment-based discrimination among newly arrived foreign-educated nurses. American Journal of Nursing, 114(1), 26-35.

Sherwood, G. D., & Shaffer. F. A. (2014). The role of internationally educated nurses in a quality, safe workforce. Nursing Outlook, 62(1), 46-52.

Wagner, L.M., Brush, B. L., Engberg, J. B., Castle, N. G., & Capezuti, E. (2015). Quality care outcomes in nursing homes: The effects of a nurse’s country of origin and education. Journal of Nursing Regulation, 5(4), 49-56.

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