International Nursing Candidates
Oct 16, 2023 — Allie Barshinger

How International Nursing Candidates Can Fit Into Your Team

International Nursing Candidates in Healthcare Recruiting

Healthcare recruiting can be difficult in the wake of growing nurse demands and an ongoing nursing shortage. To combat the nursing shortage and meet these demands, travel nurses offer their skills and expertise to healthcare facilities across a wide geographical area.

This isn’t always enough to fill all these open nursing jobs. In this blog, we’ll explore how international nursing candidates have emerged as a way to fill these gaps.

Keep reading to see how international nursing candidates can fit into your team and some strategies on how to help them get started in their U.S. nursing careers.

The Role of International Nursing Candidates in the Healthcare Industry

Role of International Nursing Candidates

If you’re struggling to meet your hiring needs, international nurses can help fill your talent pool. The very nature of travel nursing jobs means these candidates are adaptable. They can get started with a new job more quickly than other professionals.

In addition, international nurses can help you fill short-term gaps. They can step in anytime to provide high-quality patient care without others.

Since they can offer specialized skills and a wealth of cultural experiences, these nurses can provide invaluable help and insight into caring for patients.

International Candidates in the United States

United States of America

To become a travel nurse in the United States, there are a number of steps that international candidates must take.

First, they must have obtained a nursing degree and license in their home country. Then, they must pass the NCLEX exam for registered nurses to demonstrate that they’re eligible to work in the United States.

A VisaScreen Certificate is also required for healthcare professionals who aren’t U.S. citizens. This verifies that the nurse’s education, license, and training, and English proficiency meet the necessary standards.

Additionally, a work visa is needed to practice in the United States. The most common is the H-1B visa for specialty occupations. International nurses then need to get the licensure of the state where they want to work. Once they have all that, they’ll be able to start securing positions.

The Advantages of International Nurse Recruiting

Advantages of International Nurses

There are a number of advantages when it comes to utilizing an international nurse for your healthcare recruiting needs. They extend their skills across the world to help fill any gaps created by nursing shortages. Let’s take a look at some of the ways in which it can help your business thrive.

Increased Diversity and Cultural Competence

Increased Diversity and Cultural Competence

International nurses offer diverse perspectives and experiences that can enhance the experience of patients. Their multilingual capabilities can bridge language barriers, fostering better communication with non-English speakers. It may also make those patients feel more comfortable to be in the care of someone with a similar background.

Offers Nurses With Valuable Skillsets and Perspectives

Valuable Skillsets and Experiences

Different countries have different approaches to healthcare. Employing international nursing talent can introduce these new perspectives and potentially offer innovative care methods to patients. They may also offer a unique skill set that may add a new perspective to healthcare in the United States.

Increased Economic Benefits

Economic Benefits

Hiring nurses from all over the world can be a cost-effective solution for healthcare staffing agencies facing tight budgets. An international nurse may be more willing to accept positions that domestic nurses may not, such as those in remote regions. This will help you avoid the costs of temporary staffing or overtime pay.

The Challenges of International Nurse Recruiting

Although recruiting international nurses can greatly help the healthcare industry hire more nurses, it doesn’t come without some challenges. Let’s address some of the difficulties associated with this healthcare recruiting method:

Language and Communication Barriers

Language and Communication Barriers

Their experience with another language can be helpful, but it can also be difficult to communicate with a nurse whose accent or pronunciation differs. This often ends up leading to some miscommunications. In addition, their communication styles or medical terminology understanding may cause more communication challenges.

Credential Verification and Licensing

Credential Verification

The process of verifying credentials and licensing international healthcare professionals can be very complex. There are multiple steps they must take to get the necessary licensing both in their country and here in the U.S.

International nurses must have a great commitment to working here to go through this time-consuming process. It’s important that your healthcare staffing agency remains patient while waiting to get them employed in the workforce.

Adjustment and Transition Challenges

Adjustment and Transition Challenges

Starting a nursing career in a whole new country with a whole new set of rules can be a daunting task. So, it’s no surprise that getting started comes with some adjustment and transition challenges.

It may be difficult to move your life across the world and adapt to the new medical practices. They’ll need your support to ensure that the transition goes smoothly. International healthcare professionals’ willingness to move their entire life just goes to show how dedicated they are to nursing.

Retention Concerns

Retention Concerns

There are a number of factors that contribute to higher turnover rates among international healthcare professionals. For one, the transition into a new healthcare setting can be difficult. There are new workplace practices to adapt to, and insufficient orientation may make it harder to start a new job.

Additionally, being separated from loved ones and taking on a lot of stress can make them feel isolated and overloaded. With these factors in mind, it’s easy to see why there are retention concerns in international healthcare staffing.

Strategies to Maximize International Candidates in Healthcare Recruiting

While there can be challenges, there are a number of resources you can offer to help international candidates be successful.

Here are some of the resources you can offer:

Provide Them With Language and Cultural Training

Language and Cultural Training

We’ve already touched upon the language and cultural barriers associated with international nurses. To combat some of these challenges, you can offer support through language and cultural training. Helping familiarize international healthcare talent with the English language and U.S. healthcare terminology may ease the transition and eliminate communication barriers.

Employ Efficient Licensure and Credential Verification

Effective Verification

Since this can be long and time-consuming, employ methods that will speed up the license and credential verification process. You should work closely with the regulatory bodies and provide clear step-by-step instructions to make verification easier for new talent.

If you make it easier to verify that they’re registered nurses and have a deep understanding of the United States healthcare system, it will make the onboarding process easier for both parties involved.

Implement a Comprehensive Onboarding Program

Comprehensive Onboarding Program

When bringing in an international professional, strive to ensure the healthcare organization offers a comprehensive onboarding program. One of the first things that the hospital’s onboarding program should do is focus on introducing the U.S. healthcare system.

You should also ensure their new assignment offers a mentorship program. A mentor can offer support, answer any questions they have, and encourage them to stay committed to the program.

Starting a new job in a different healthcare industry can be difficult, but offering a comprehensive onboarding program will make the transition to a nursing career in the U.S. much easier.

Utilize Effective Retention Strategies

Utilize Effective Retention Strategies

To combat the high turnover healthcare organizations often face with an international hire, your organization should be sure to use effective retention strategies. The first thing you can do is offer competitive compensation and benefits.

Additionally, recognition and reward programs, as well as pathways for career advancement, will make an international healthcare professional more likely to consider a long-term career. Offering ongoing training, support, and education opportunities are some other ways to retain your workforce.

International Candidates Can Help With U.S. Healthcare Staffing Needs

International Nurses Help With Healthcare Recruiting

To reach the talents you’re looking for, consider recruiting international nursing candidates. It’s a great way to gain new insight and diverse perspectives on the U.S. healthcare industry while fulfilling your long-term staffing needs.


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