Discover Studying Abroad

How international students can get a nursing degree to tap into lucrative gigs in the US

Strong demand for nurses, the job’s relatively high pay, and low-risk of automation are all compelling incentives to pursue a nursing career.
BY BrainGain Magazine Staff Writer |   27-08-2018

Nursing Schools

It’s a great time to be a nurse in the United States with the job market for nurses heating up, driving up wages and sign-on bonuses for the nation’s fifth-largest occupation.

For hospitals, which employ more than half of America’s roughly 2.8 million nurses, fewer nurses means a scramble for essential staff and rising salaries. Signing bonuses — some $15,000 or more — are increasingly common in states like Texas, California and Florida, Nebraska, Iowa and New York, recruiters and labor experts say.

Lucrative gig
In the US, a nurse earns an average annual salary of $63,000, more than double the global average of $26,698, according to CapRelo, a firm that specializes in global relocation. Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNA) earn nearly $140,934 per year, making it the top paying nursing speciality, according to PayScale.

Shailaja Sood graduated from Ivy League Penn Nursing at the University of Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia. With Penn Nursing being the No 1 nursing school in the world and having the top-rated Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program, Sood says “recruitment interest was phenomenal.”

Sood ultimately settled on a job as a nurse anesthetist with a large hospital chain in Washington which gives her additional on-the-job training.

“I received a generous sign-on bonus and concierge services to help with grocery shopping and other errands. It’s a great perk as I work long hours,” said Sood.

“Nurse anesthetists start their work with a patient before the procedure begins, doing a preoperative screen to determine anesthesia needs. Of course, we observe patients throughout the course of recovery from anesthesia. We have to react and respond quickly to patient needs,” she addad.

Laura Author, director of career services at Johns Hopkins School of Nursing in Baltimore, told NurseChoice that the school’s graduates don’t encounter problems finding jobs.

“There are lots of positions out there,” Meredith Wallace Kazer, dean and professor at Fairfield University in Connecticut, told NurseChoice. She said 100% of the university’s new graduate nurses find jobs.

Top Nursing Schools
Prospective international students interested in pursuing a career in nursing have several options to consider at schools such as University of Pennsylvania, Yale University, Columbia University, Duke University, George Washington University, and Chamberlain College of Nursing, in Atlanta.

Undergrad Nursing Degrees
At the undergraduate level, international students have the option of pursuing an associate degree in nursing (ADN) which can be completed in 18 to 24 months. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program typically requires four years, but some can be completed sooner. The University of Washington offers an accelerated BSN degree, which can be completed six months faster than the regular BSN program.

Graduates with either degree are qualified to take the National Council Licensure Examination, or NCLEX, the licensing exam for registered nurses.

“Some nurses choose the ADN route to enter the workforce sooner and obtain their BSN later on in an Registered Nurse-to-Bachelor of Science in Nursing program. Or, individuals who already earned a bachelor’s degree and want to change careers can pursue second degree options to earn their BSN in a shorter amount of time,” explained the Rasmussen College School of Nursing website.

Students can also earn a two-year ADN at the community college level, such as at Midland College in Texas or Massachusetts Bay Community College.

Master of Science in Nursing
American schools like Duke University School of Nursing offer Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) programs that offer eight advanced practice registered nurse majors and three non-clinical majors. You also have the option of adding a specialty to your course of study.

Passion-driven profession
Nurses often work three 12-hour days (which translates into 13 or 14 hour long shifts). The difficult hours, especially the “graveyard” shifts, are emotionally and physically draining and take a toll on the body.

“I like my career of caring for patients,” said Andrew Greenwald, a nurse who works in mental health. “Nurses work closely with patients and their families as they deal with difficult health issues, kindness and compassion are vital for a nurse to succeed in his or her career.”

Nursing is a standout profession when it comes to career longevity.

“People say the industry is recession-proof. I suppose it’s far less volatile than most. I’ve never seen the massive layoffs and drastic cutbacks that my friends have had to bear. Working in the medical field is the best for almost guaranteed employment,” said Greenwald.

More men are entering the nursing profession
The nursing industry is still dominated by women, about 90 percent depending on the type of nursing. However, according to United States Bureau of Labor, the number of men who work as nurses has tripled since 1970, rising from 2.7 to 9.6%.

Despite more men entering the nursing profession, an analysis of demographic trends in the United States, and nursing graduation rates, show there won’t be enough nurses to meet growing demand in the coming decade.



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