Nursing is one of the most mobile professions and no more so than now when the world is in the grip of a severe shortage of nurses. In fact, registered nurses are the biggest human export of many developing countries.
When choosing a medical recruiter or when assessing an offer of employment, you need to look at the contract conditions being offered as well as the salary in order to be able to make an informed decision…
Some contract conditions you may be offered in addition to a lucrative salary are:
- Housing or a housing allowance
- Flights paid for out to the country to take up your new position
- Visa fees paid for you
- NCLEX-RN and/or CGFNS fees paid for you
- Ability to contribute to a company pension scheme
- Medical insurance (especially important if you want a nursing job in the USA)
- An end of contract bonus
- Referral bonuses (these can be as much as 1000 USD with some nursing agencies)
- Uniforms provided
Not every nurse recruiter offers any or all of these conditions in their contracts. When you are looking for a nursing job overseas you should keep these contract conditions in the back of your mind, so that you can ask recruiters about them. You may find that even recruiters that do not initially offer these benefits may have the ability to do so, if you ask.
Some of these conditions will be offered by agencies as standard to all registered nurses who sign a contract with them for a specified period. It is a wise idea to check the length of any contract you’re signing and what the penalties are if you leave early.
Usually when nursing agencies or recruiters are offering a benefit that will require them to invest money in getting you into a job they will ask you to sign a contract for a specified period. This can provide you with job security. However, it has been my experience that such contracts also have a penalty clause that will cost you money if you leave the position before the contract period has elapsed.
There is a great deal of diversity in contract conditions offered between countries and also between different nursing recruitment agencies and hospitals within any one country. Before you start applying for nursing positions overseas you need to consider what contract conditions you’d like to receive and how you’re going to compare different employment offers that have differing benefits.
One way to do this is to rank possible conditions in order of their importance to you. For example, if you are particularly interested in any potential employer paying for your flight – then you would put that at the top of your list of contract conditions to look for. Then you move on down the list putting the conditions in order of relevance for you.
This way, once you get offered a nursing employment contract you can assess it against your list and make an informed choice about whether you want to accept it or not.