Regardless of your motivation for moving your nursing career overseas, you will have many of the same questions as others who want to nurse abroad. Here are the answers to three of the questions that I am asked most frequently…

Where can I get a nursing job overseas?

Most developing countries are suffering from an increasingly severe nursing shortage. They simply are not training enough nurses each year to replace the nurses that are reaching retirement age. This is an immediate problem for countries which also have an aging population who are putting more strain on the health systems in those countries.

Countries like the USA, the UK, Australia and New Zealand all have a significant number of internationally educated nurses already working in their health systems. And there are still many vacancies that nursing recruiters are unable to fill!

If you are already a registered nurse at home, moving your nursing career overseas to any English speaking country is only limited by your ability to speak the language well enough to pass the required English language test. Similarly, if you are a qualified nurse who is fluent in a language other than English, Arabic or Cantonese for example – there are many nursing vacancies abroad in the United Arab Emirates or Singapore.

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How do I get a job nursing abroad?

Each country has their own way of registering nurses. And nurses who want to nurse abroad in the United States, Australia or Canada face the added challenge of being required to register with the State Board of Nursing relevant to where they will be working as there is no nationwide system of nurse registration.

Generally speaking, you will have to:

  • provide evidence of your nursing education
  • provide evidence of your nursing license in the country you are currently working in
  • provide evidence of your nursing experience, usually recommendation letters on official letterhead will be accepted
  • provide evidence of your fluency in the official language of the country you are applying to register in
  • In the UK you’ll also have to take part in an Overseas Nursing Programme, and in the USA you’ll have to take either the NCLEX-RN exam, or the CGFNS exam… or both.

Finding information on how to register as an overseas nurse can be a lengthy process as much of the information is buried deep inside websites that are not dedicated to providing information to foreign nurses. You can find detailed, step-by-step instructions to moving your nursing career abroad in the Nursing-Overseas Ultimate Job Hunting System.

Do I need special qualifications?

Your nursing qualifications and any specialist training you have undertaken may not be the exact equivalent of what is required or offered of registered nurses in the country to which you are moving.

Most countries have a service you can use that will work out what your qualifications are equivalent to in their education system. For example, you can contact NARIC in the UK and they will check your qualifications against the UK standards and issue you a report.

Even if your qualifications do not transfer exactly, you will most likely be able to register as a general adult nurse. Once you are working in a nursing position overseas, you can explore whether you would like to upgrade your nursing qualifications by up-skilling in a new specialism.


About The Author
Kelly Blackwell is an expert author on working abroad. You can learn more about her here.
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