OP-ED

Op-Ed: No Need for Alarm Over Need for Foreign Nurses

Recent news coverage (“Amid Nation’s Recession,
More Than 200,000 Nursing Jobs Go Unfilled,” Reuters, March 8th) validly
and vividly calls attention to a nursing shortage in the U.S. healthcare system that
“threatens the quality of patient care even as tens of thousands of
people are turned away from nursing schools, according to experts.”

That article adds, “The shortage has drawn the
attention of President Barack Obama. During a White House meeting on Thursday
to promote his promised healthcare system overhaul, Obama expressed alarm over
the notion that the United States
might have to import trained foreign nurses because so many U.S. nursing jobs are
unfilled.”

Importing internationally-trained nurses is no cause for
alarm.  The fact is, at least in the short term, the U.S.does have to
import these nurses, and plenty more of them, if we are to meet our rapidly
growing healthcare needs.  Don’t understand why?  Consider the
following:

       An estimated
8.5% of U.S.
nursing positions go unfilled each year – a number expected to triple by
2020.

       2007 U.S.
Dep’t of Health and Human Services research reported we will require
1.2 million new RNs by 2014 – 500,000 of these simply to replace retiring
nurses.

      Shortages
are especially dire in critical care, cardiac, intensive care and operating
rooms, and it takes years to “build” nurses in these areas.

      The economy
is making recruitment even harder (and, I would ask, why are there freezes
for nurses when it is clear access to healthcare affects us all?)

Other
challenges include an aging (and retiring) workforce, fewer students and
teachers, high turnover rates, and a lack of funding for U.S. nursing
schools.   

There is no 'quick fix' – we must first recruit the nurse
educators and then train the nurses. We must learn from new graduate nurse
experiences that they feel unsupported and apprehensive about working
autonomously as healthcare professionals, by ensuring they have the support and
guidance of experienced nurses. But this process will take years — who
looks after us when we get sick until then? 

Perhaps the greatest challenge to solving the
nursing shortage is the immigration/VISA process currently in place for
internationally-trained nurses.  There are generally three non-immigrant
visa options for nurses:  H-1C, TN, and H-1B, and two of these
are significantly limited by statutory and quantitative visa allotments, as
well as legal, regulatory and policy-based eligibility
requirements.   The TN would be a solution if Canada didn't have its own nursing
crisis, and Mexican nurses are required to sit English examinations (which is
only correct, I add) but results in another set of barriers. The
other method for a foreign nurse to come to the U.S. is by applying for a green
card, but the current numbers of nurses succeeding through this Schedule A
procedure still do not come even close to approaching the levels needed to help
alleviate the nursing shortage.  Problems include quantitative visa limits,
as well as inconsistencies in procedures and processing times.

 What does all of this mean, in practical terms?  It
means that, while patients in U.S. hospitals wait and suffer from a lack of
sufficient nursing case, experienced and caring internationally-trained nurses,
who have committed to come here to help care for us, are also waiting –
some of them, e.g., from India, for as long as seven years!   And
it’s great that President Obama has committed more money to expanding healthcare,
but the nurses that will be necessary to staff any such expansions are nowhere
to be found – at least not here, not yet.

Internationally-trained nurses are not taking jobs away from
US works at all, but are in fact filling only a small percentage of the
critical nursing shortage in this country – and are needed in greater
numbers, to help address the problem now. Failure to recognize this very
important fact – and to include the nursing shortage in any conversation
about healthcare reform – could prove fatal to the public health system
in the coming years.

Hospitals, we cannot
heal ourselves. 

 Mick Whitley is the Managing Director of
global healthcare staffing firm HCL International.

Livongo’s Post Ad Banner 728*90

Categories: OP-ED

Tagged as: ,

22
Leave a Reply

22 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
18 Comment authors
E. SlatenRTonline degreesNatasha VanSchool Grants Recent comment authors
newest oldest most voted
E. Slaten
Guest

I completely agree. A large portion of the nurses and nursing aides employed by our home health agency are foreign-born–and there have never been more compassionate, competent and skilled people. When it comes to a patient’s health, skill and passion should trump birthplace or accent.

RT
Guest
RT

I have an MN, tried for several years to find a teaching position. No dice. I have 22 years psych experience in locked units, ER triage ( plus M/S), and out patient services. I could not find a decent job, took a very low paid job, and finally gave it up. I had hoped to work for another 8-10 years, and I see that new grads can’t find jobs either. It seems like the only jobs are for the nurses with 2 -20 years experience, and forget the rest unless you stay with your job until you retire.

online degrees
Guest

the nurses that will be necessary to staff any such expansions are nowhere to be found – at least not here, not yet.

Natasha Van
Guest
Natasha Van

I am a South African trained RN who went through the green card immigration process to come to the USA to work as an RN. I waited 4 years to actually get over here. It is by no means an easy procedure. Once here, I was given the equivalent of a new grad RN’s wage per hour and I have been an RN for 13 years back in South Africa. I had a lot of guilt about leaving my home country, but in retrospect how do those foreign governments expect to retain nurses when they are paid minimum wage after… Read more »

School Grants
Guest

Foreign nurses is what we need in Canada.

medical billing and coding
Guest

include the nursing shortage in any conversation about healthcare reform – could prove fatal to the public health system in the coming years.

cna training
Guest

Obama expressed alarm over the notion that the United States might have to import trained foreign nurses because so many U.S. nursing jobs are unfilled.”

LVN Schools
Guest

The other method for a foreign nurse to come to the U.S. is by applying for a green card, but the current numbers of nurses succeeding through this Schedule A procedure still do not come even close to approaching the levels needed to help alleviate the nursing shortage.

vjcherian1
Guest
vjcherian1

Established in 1997, St. Gregorious Edu-Guidance is a leading education consultancy services providing exemplary service to students all over India. We deal in Admissions to all major professional courses in Premier Institutes across India. We are your one step solution for all career related needs, it may be MD, MBBS BE, BTech (ALL BRANCHES), , MDS, BDS, BPharm, BArch, MBA, MTech, MS, , PhD or any other courses. We provide personalized career solutions on an individual basis keeping in mind the aspirations of our client as well as the affordability factor. FOR ALL CAREER RELATED NEEDS CONTACT US : St.… Read more »

loosethey
Guest
loosethey

Now after the repercussions of OUTSOURCING many jobs that Americans held…they want to ‘INSOURCE’ nurses. I am an unemployed RN and I cannot find a job. It is probably ‘CHEAPER’ to bring in foreign trained nurses under contract. I have worked with imported nurses under contract to the sponsoring facility. They were willing to work for less and work off the clock. This is illegal and detrimental to nursing industry.

nelc
Guest

if importing of nurses will be done from third world countries, i believe their health care system would crash.. most of those that would be left on us are novices..from schools with poor quality training..

CNA Training
Guest

The first thing the Government should concentrate on is to create enough facilities for nursing degree programs adequately staffed with trainers. There are many people in the United States who want to pursue nursing studies, but they simply can not pursue their goal because of lack of training facilities/instructors.

S4
Guest
S4

Now all we need to do is let in foreign doctors to increase supply as the AMA severely limits doctor numbers in virtually all specialties. Supply limitations help drive up prices and conserves monopoly/cartel powers for physicians.

Janet
Guest
Janet

This article is deceptive. There is plenty to be alarmed of. They ought to know better. Importing nurses by using agencies that bribe governments into releasing their much needed nurses is complete folly. United States law enforcement is already in the process of exploring whether these organizations are engaging in international bribery, forbidden by American law. The people working for and leading these organizations if not intentionally malicious are ignorantly so, which is just as bad. Taking nurses away from countries in order to staff them in other countries only “borrows from Peter to save Paul” and transfers the problems… Read more »

jasdeep
Guest
jasdeep

hi My name is Jasdeep K. Samra.I am on H4 visa status.means thatI can legally live here in US ,study here but unfortunately i can’t work.I am doing Masters in Nursing as Clinical Nurse specialist.But the problrm is this I don’t have work permit.Though there is huge shortage of nurses in US ,but still I can’t work.Is there any special qota for nurses on H4 so that I can get work permit.Can anyone answer my question?