How global talent can solve the nursing shortage

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Experienced general manager of Active Healthcare with a proven history of working in the staffing and recruitment industry.

The healthcare sector is at a crossroads national nursing shortage can have widespread and serious consequences if it continues to worsen. But zooming out to the world stage shows tens of thousands of graduate nurses abroad who may be the solution to our domestic crisis.

To resolve the current situation, we must look beyond our current boundaries and look out to the vast global talent pool. But how do we make that work?

Contents

What caused this crisis

Burnout and low wages have not been resolved since the start of the pandemic, and now new restrictions are emerging for nurses. Many nurses graduating in 2020 have never gone through the standard rite of passage in nursing: gaining hands-on experience in a clinical setting. As a result, new nurses are thrown into an overwhelming and understaffed environment that they may not feel prepared for.

Lots of nurses switched to travel medicine, as pay is generally better and flexibility is promising. After making the switch, there is no incentive to return to older pay or models, creating more job openings in hospitals.

In addition, the average age of nurses in the US is rising, with many reaching retirement age before younger nurses are trained enough to take their place. Because fewer people enter the labor marketmeasures must be taken quickly to attract more nurses to local hospitals.

Discover untapped talent

While the US struggles for a nurse shortage, other countries have tens of thousands of nurses currently unemployed. The global talent pool is richer than our national talent pool. Could it be time to consider attracting healthcare talent from abroad?

There are tremendous benefits to hiring nurses from abroad to come and work in US healthcare systems, such as:

1. More opportunities for qualified nurses

Hiring nurses from other countries would not only solve the current state of nursing. It would also provide lucrative employment for qualified people who might not find the same opportunities at home. For many of these nurses, the US dollar goes far beyond their local currency. Many of these workers send money home.

Also, upward mobility is high for nurses in the US. Health care workers who start out as nurses may later become advanced registered nurse practitioners (ARNPs), assistant physicians, or some of the specialized and in-demand positions.

2. Improved Global healthcare

While many of the health care workers who come to the United States will decide to stay long term and contribute to the country, many others will choose to go home at some point.

After working in the US healthcare industry, employees can return home and share what they have learned. This process raises standards of care and innovation worldwide and enables rich cultural and scientific exchange.

3. Improved skills and disease recognition

In their home countries, those same nurses may have been exposed to different diseases than American nurses. As the world becomes a global village where people often travel internationally, diseases also travel with them.

For example, many U.S. hospitals may not be able to treat or even properly diagnose yellow fever. But if any of the hospital staff has worked with these patients in the past, they may be able to say, “I’ve seen these symptoms before.” I know how to help this person.”

How to use global talent to solve the nursing shortage

The main question that remains for us is: how can we use the global talent pool to reduce our nurse shortage? Unfortunately, there are a few obstacles we must overcome. This is what needs to be done.

Change immigration law.

Healthcare is traditionally one of the most migrant-friendly industries in the country. But between Covid-19 and the changes to immigration policy during the last government, there was a significant slowdown in immigration processing for many people. To solve this crisis, we may first have to look at legislative changes. For example, we can speed up the migration process for registered nurses.

Make NCLEX available in more countries.

As of now, the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) is only offered in select countries. That means that to practice in the US, many people have to find the money (usually by raising an extended family or community) to pay for the flights and accommodation needed to take the exam, and hope they succeed the first time. The NCLEX should be available in more countries, especially those with a large population of nurses.

Encourage employers to look at global talent.

Even if we make it easier for nurses to come to the US, they still need a place to work. Hospitals and other healthcare employers need to be aware of the sheer amount of talent available when looking at overseas resources.

To encourage the hiring of nurses from abroad, the healthcare industry needs to change its mindset. Companies that decide to attract global talent must ensure that their team is trained and that their organization’s culture is aligned with this specific strategy. Diversity and inclusion policies and training can ensure that nurses are not subsequently discriminated against or isolated.

Intelligence is evenly distributed, opportunity is not

Nursing is an incredibly noble profession and there are many intelligent, skilled and dedicated people who want to give their lives to that honorable work. We just need to make the process easier for them. Although the nursing crisis seems impossible at first glance, the solution is in sight by broadening our horizons and looking to the future.


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