Methods: The study used a non-experiential, descriptive, mixed methods design. Participants recurited from a single university located on the West coast of the US. Thirdy-eight participants completed an online survey. Eleven of the 38 agreed and participated in a focus group.
Results: The majority of the sample was women (63.9%) with ages ranging from 31-years to 70-years of age. Countries of origin included Mexico (45.8%) and Philippines (37.5%) followed by China, Iraq, Pakistan and Russia with 4.17% each. Just over half (52.8%) worked 9 or more years as a physician in their country of origin. The qualitative data resulted in two main focused areas related to the personal and the program. The personal theme was the experiences by the participants in completing the FNP program and practice. The personal themes included: 1) balancing roles, 2) peer support, 3) persistence in the face of challenges, 4) expanded thinking, 5) confidence to succeed, and 6) gratitude and opportunities. The program focused on the participants’ thoughts on the experience with the FNP program. The program themes included: 1) constant change, 2) competence of the clinical faculty, 3) understanding the US educational system, and 4) shared responsibility.
Conclusion: Nurse practitioner have added value to health care in the US by increasing access; demonstrating cost-efficient; decreasing health disparities; facilitating continuity of care, improving patient satisfaction; and, in comparison to physicians, have equivalent or superior outcomes and technical quality as well as better interpersonal skills (Stanik-Hutt et al., 2013). Foreign educated physicians as nurse practitioners enhance access to quality and cost-effective health care. Nurse practitioner programs could benefit from developing a program that addresses the unique needs of these students while appreciating the value added by their inclusion in nurse practitioner programs.