Thursday, July 22, 2004
This presentation is part of : Quality of Life of Nurses
International Nurse Migration: Easing the Transition to Nursing Practice
Catherine R. Davis, PhD, RN, Administration, Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools, Philadelphia, PA, USA and C. Alicia Georges, EdD, RN, FAAN, USA.
Learning Objective #1: Identify the challenges facing nurses who practice across international borders and their employers
Learning Objective #2: Discuss best practices that facilitate the international nurse's transition to practice

Background: The proliferation of trade agreements and the worldwide nursing shortage have increased the migration of nurses across international borders. Practicing across borders challenges both the migrating nurse and the employer. Yet little research has been done on the transition of international nurses to nursing practice in a host country.

Purpose: To describe the challenges of entering nursing practice in the United States from the perspective of the migrating nurse and the employer.

Design: A survey design was used to examine the recruitment, transition and safety issues of international nurses and employing institutions in the United States.

Method: Nurse surveys were distributed to 789 internationally educated nurses who sat for the US licensure examination between 1997 and 2002 and employer surveys to 3000 members of the American Association of Nurse Executives.

Results: Analysis of survey data indicated that for both international nurses and employers cultural differences, language proficiency, knowledge of the healthcare system, medication administration and use of technology were the major challenges when beginning nursing practice in the United States. Employers further identified language and medication skills as particularly tied to safe practice while international nurses felt that knowledge of the US healthcare system was essential to a successful transition. Both groups agreed that preceptorship was the most important transition strategy.

Conclusions/Implications: Nurse migration across international borders will continue to increase in the foreseeable future. To ensure a successful transition to nursing practice in a host country, formal orientation programs tailored to the needs of the migrating nurse as well as to the needs of the institution should be in place prior to the employment of international nurses.

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