order to work as a qualified nurse in the USA, you must have a
license to practise there as a nurse AND a visa that permits you
Salaries and conditions in the USA vary from state to state and
in general there are no national agreements. The cost of living
in different states varies too and this should be considered carefully,
especially regarding accomodation and transport. A car may be
essential in certain areas as many hospitals tend to be on the
outer fringes of cities. Health insurance is normally included
in the employment package, but check carefully if this is the
case and the type of cover offered. Your holiday entitlement in
the USA can vary, and is usually quite limited, somewhere between
2 to 4 weeks a year is the norm.
Their are two main requirements to gaining employment as a nurse
in the USA.
two main requirements are --
1. Sitting your CGFNS exam (The Commission on Graduates
of Foreign Nursing Schools) in
this country. (See Below)
2. Sit the NCLEX-RN exam in a chosen state of the USA.
(See Below) Joining
a recruitment agency which sponsors nurses to fly to the USA to
sit this exam is a good way of gaining this qualification.
the USA there is only one category of first-level of nurse, this
being the Registered Nurse (RN). An RN is the equivalent to the
UK RGN qualification. Only a RGN is eligible to apply for nurse
registration in the USA.
Each state in the USA has its own board of nursing, and its own
regulations for foreign-trained nurses. Do not assume that
the requirements in one state will be the same as another.
For starters nearly all states require that you have passed the
CGFNS exam before you can apply for the NCLEX-RN
"state board" exam. At present only New York and Florida
are the exception to this rule. But each board will advise you
whether the CGFNS exam is a requirement.
The CGFNS Certification
Program is designed only for first-level, general nurses educated
and licensed outside of the United States who wish to assess their
chances of passing the U.S. registered nurse licensing exam, the
NCLEX-RN, and attaining licensure as registered nurses within
the United States.
The exam is now held three times a year in London and all applications
are processed at CGFNS headquarters in the USA.
The exam program is comprised of a Credentials Review, a one-day
Qualifying Exam of Nursing Knowledge, and an English language
proficiency exam. Upon successful completion of all three elements
of the Program, the applicant is issued a CGFNS Certificate.
You must provide evidence of having covered theory and clinical
education in medicine, surgery, paediatrics, obstetrics and psychiatry
in your nurse education and also have three of more GCSEs. If
some of these areas have not been covered during your nurse education,
it may be required to gain this education before sitting the exam.
Check with the CGFNS or the board of nursing in the state where
you intend to practise whether the experience you have been offered
is likley to meet their requirements.
For application forms, status of your application and further
advice and information visit the CGFNS website @ www.cgfns.org
NCLEX-RN exam is the most important qualification to get if you
want to work in the USA. You will not be able to practise as a
nurse without first getting this qualification.
If you want to take this examination you must travel to the chosen
state you wish to work in, take the exam then leave the USA
to wait on your results. Some recruitment agencies will sponsor
you to do this. You cannot take the NCLEX-RN exam in the UK.
At present the majority of recruitment as a nurse in the USA is
done through an agency, as the number of available posts for UK
nurses is limited. (See Useful Links for such agencies).
With this being the case, if you pass the NCLEX-RN exam the agency
(or prospective employer) may then apply for a visa to enable
you to return to the USA to work. Note: Only a US employer
can apply for an employment visa on your behalf.
NCLEX-RN examinations are completely
computerised and you can arrange to sit them all year round. You
can arrange to take the exam at a test centre in one state but
have the results sent to another state so that your license can
be issued in that state. But check with the individual state boards
about application deadlines.
For further NCLEX-RN exam inforamtion, state nursing boards, and
application procedures visit the National Council of State
Boards of Nursing website @ www.ncsbn.org
Your prospective employer
will have to prove that they have made every effort to recruit
persons who already have the right to live and work in the USA,
before the USA authorities will allow them to recruit foreign
nurses. Unless you are a US citizen by birth or by marriage you
must have the correct visa to enter the USA. If you enter
the country on a visitor's visa you will not be allowed
to work. If you work on a visitors visa, it is illegal
and you run the
risk of deportation for this offence.
Nurses who do not require a visa to enter and work in the USA
must still comply with the requirements of US nurse licensure.
For further information
on gaining an Employment Visa and other useful immigration info
the US State Department website @ travel.state.gov/
Also check National
Immigration Services @ www.myvisa.com
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