Tips For Foreign Nurses Wanting To Work In The United States

Tips For Foreign Nurses Wanting To Work In The United StatesThe United States is a dream destination for many foreign nurses, especially those coming from developing countries. The US stands for liberty, equality, freedom of speech and movement and individual expression. It tolerates and fosters multiple cultures to blend and work together cohesively within its borders. All of these reasons combine to create the American dream. The US has been importing nurses for the last 50 years. However, more nurses are being imported currently, given the nursing shortage and the need to hire and deploy nurses urgently. This signals a golden period for qualified nurses who are prepared to work and perhaps settle in the US. However, for nurses coming from different cultural backgrounds, the US does present several cultural and lifestyle-based challenges. Here are several tips that you’ll find very useful if you are a foreign nurse wanting to work in the United States.

Build Your Self Confidence

You might be coming from a foreign country and might not have had the benefits of a US education. It doesn’t matter. You’re being hired because you’re considered competent and your credentials are good. Hold on to that and stay confident. There’s no need to feel that you’re lesser than nurses in the US. There’s also no need to feel that if you speak up, you’ll be considered arrogant. What you need to do is speak up, express yourself, ask questions politely and let people know that you are dedicated to your vocation and that you greatly appreciate the opportunity to learn and work in the US.

Don’t Let The Language Intimidate You

Remember, all foreigners are at a disadvantage when they enter the United States. Not everyone’s English is spick and span and even if it is, the accents vary and there’ll always be a learning curve. Just accept that fact and work on your strengths. Don’t feel discouraged from speaking in English, even if you’re embarrassed by your lack of expertise. If you’re not a native English speaker, then you’re not; it’s as simple as that. There’s no need to feel embarrassed or ashamed over this fact. If you’re self-conscious when you speak, your foreign accent will stand out more. If you speak up confidently, people will listen to you and respect your opinions, no matter how good your English is.

Have Pride In Your Heritage

Yes, the US might be the dream destination for a lot of people. However, where you come from is also very important. Have pride in your heritage and your culture. America is a diverse country, where different cultures are encouraged and fostered. You are valued as much for the cultural influence you bring, apart from your nursing skills. If you know a foreign language, put that in your resume and be proud of it.

Learn To Adapt And Flex

The American healthcare system is different from the healthcare systems in other countries, including yours. If you have any ingrained notions of how the healthcare system should be run, then you need to unlearn those and learn how it is done in the US. By being flexible and adaptable, you can learn more than by sticking to your guns. Don’t keep mentioning that in your country, it’s done differently. This will only put your co-workers off. Don’t talk to patients about how you would do things back home and how you don’t approve of certain methods in the US. This kind of talk and attitude will only affect your job and stay prospects in the US. You have chosen to leave your country and work in the US and you are therefore, expected to adapt to the US way of doing things. Do yourself a favor and learn to adapt.

Go Easy On Yourself

As with everything else in life, learning a new system and a new way of life takes time. Don’t expect yourself to become an expert overnight. You have to deal with new people, new and different equipments, new policies, doctors, different cultures and so on. Allow yourself enough time to learn and adapt. It’s ok to make mistakes. You can learn from them. Watch your peers and seniors carefully and learn not just from what they teach you but how they behave and conduct themselves. Take advantage of any orientation and transition programs that your State has for foreign nurses. In addition, remember to go easy on yourself; you’re not slow and stupid, you’re just new and it’s natural to take time.

Get To Know Other Foreign Nurses That Work With You

In your eagerness to adapt to America and be American, don’t ignore other foreign nurses, especially those from your own country. Some people tend to do this in a mistaken effort to immerse themselves totally in the American culture, especially if they’re not very proud of their own. Remember that other foreign nurses must have gone through what you’re now going through. Talk to them, ask for advice and network with them. You’ll learn a lot from them; you’ll get to know and understand how they perceive the country, its culture, people and job requirements as well. However, be careful not to network only with foreign nurses and ignore American nurses. You need to find a balance and network with the entire staff equally if you want to feel accepted.

You Are Part Of The Healthcare Team

In America, most employers follow non-hierarchical, flat reporting structures. Designations are created for the purpose of understanding a person’s role and your reporting structure. That apart, the US system of work in any field is more informal and casual than in other countries. If you’re from a country that follows a strict corporate discipline and is very hierarchical, you might not adapt to the casual US culture immediately. Remember you were hired and imported from a foreign country because you are valued. Count yourself as part of the team. Respect and appreciate your colleagues but don’t be subservient. Always value yourself.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Josie July 7, 2011 at 2:18 pm

My advice to those newly comers were “Be Yourself”,just go with the flow,learned to dance with there music,be nice and be friendly with them,try to win there confidence and respect and don’t be arrogant and feel like you already somebody just be humble until they found you who you are…don’t be shy to ASK than to presume that you know everything..

gagan July 8, 2011 at 8:05 am

Thanks Josie for your useful tips

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