Nursing is an excellent career choice that allows you to work in an essential role in an increasingly demanding field. If you want to relocate to the United States from Kenya, however, then the process will be a bit more complicated. The good news is that the nursing shortage is only growing in the United States, and the need for nurses has opened the doors for overseas professionals.
With the right know-how, you can not only get a job in the United States of America as a nurse, but you can further your career. There are many different rules involved in this process, and they will change based on which state you relocate to.
Relocating Your Nursing Career
You can earn your nursing license and then relocate. Though not easy and not fast, you can, for example, take your nursing license from Kenya and relocate to the United States. In order to do this, you will need at minimum a bachelor’s degree in nursing. You will also need to have a minimum of 2 years of professional experience.
Once you have these qualifications, you will then need to apply for nursing jobs in the USA through specialist agencies. These professional agencies help guide you through the entire process and, in some cases, take a percentage of your salary rather than a flat fee. They work to help you apply for your green card and find and organize a job for you overseas.
You cannot simply go and immediately start working. Before you can start to work, you will need to pass the NCLEX licensing exam – just as any in-state nurse would have to. To take this exam, you will need to enroll and pass the NCLEX preparatory classes, which take around 6 months.
While preparing for the NCLEX, you may also need to take an English test. Once you have all your certificates, you can then be accepted and start your green card application.
Overall it can take between 18 months to 5 years to get everything ready for your relocation.
Furthering Your Nursing Career: the Options
There are many ways that you can further and transform your nursing career, and the best options are usually achieved by going up. APRNs are the highest level of nurses, though you can take your skillset even further by earning a doctorate.
You can work within healthcare in a specialized role, in telehealth, in nurse education, privately, in public policy, and in so many more great locations and roles. Your job is human health, and that opens so many interesting and exciting doors of opportunity.
What your options are will be limited to where you are located. Each state offers its APRNs different levels of autonomy. While some APRNs may need a physician or doctor to sign off and write prescriptions, other states do allow prescription privileges and even allow certain types of APRNs to operate their own clinic.
What to Expect from an MSN Degree
There are many advanced specializations within nursing in the United States.
Above registered nurses (RNs) are advanced practice registered nurses. To advance your career and become an APRN, you must earn an MSN degree. These MSN degrees are not general. You will need to decide on your specialization and then find an MSN degree that trains you in that specific field.
There are many different kinds of MSN degrees. The main two categories to keep in mind are that there are MSN degrees that will qualify you to take the state exam and become an APRN and others that add to your qualifications but do not make you eligible to earn an APRN license.
For example, you could earn a MSN-FNP. This master’s degree will train you to become a Family Nurse Practitioner, which is one of the most popular APRN roles today. There is also a master’s option for nurses in Clinical Nurse Leadership. This masters, though it is a master’s, will not make you qualified to take the exam and earn your license.
Keep this in mind when exploring your options. As a general rule, if the degree states it will qualify you for the role you want to work in, and if it is accredited by
The bachelor of science in nursing, master of science in nursing, and even doctorate programs all involve clinical training in the United States. Clinical placement is usually offered as part of your program. What it means is that you want your program to be accredited by either the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).
· Main Specialization Types
There are many unique APRN specializations, and the roles are only expanding as states turn towards APRNs to offset physician shortages. Though there are many different options, most will be either as a Nurse Practitioner (NP) or a Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS). There are two special roles that fall into their own category, and that is that of the nurse midwife and the nurse anesthetist.
Nurse midwifery requires you to have worked on a mother-baby unit or under a certified midwife as part of the professional experience requirements. Nurse anesthetists also have stricter qualification requirements. The offset is that these roles typically earn higher wages and have more freedom with schedules. The nurse anesthetist, for example, earns the highest salary on average out of all nursing positions.
· Post Graduate Certificates
You will need to continue your education and earn another degree if you ever want to change roles. The good news is that you do not need to take a full MSN in order to do this. You can instead complete a post-graduate certificate that will allow you to focus solely on the role-specific courses that you will not have already covered.
Clinical training is an essential component of every nursing degree in the United States. They can be daunting, especially the first time you go through them, but so long as you know what to expect during your nursing clinicals and how to get the most out of the experience, you will do just fine. Clinical training is simply the hands-on portion of your education.
Even online nursing degrees require clinical training. Though the clinical portion of your degree must be conducted in person, you will usually be placed in a clinic that is located near where you live for comfort and convenience.
What the Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact is and How it Will Affect Your Career
Each state has slightly different rules and legislation that change how APRNs operate. These rules are also in near-constant flux as states work to adapt their approach to meet the needs of their citizens. High physician shortages in some states have resulted in more privileges being awarded to APRNs, for example.
There are big changes coming to healthcare, and part of it is due to the pandemic. During the pandemic, telehealth finally was able to take off, and now new investment and new legislation is coming forward to make it stick. This will work to decentralize and improve healthcare, but to run it properly, more RNs, APRNs, and medical doctors alike will be needed.
With each state approaching these challenges in a different way, your opportunities will vary from state to state. That is why you need to pay attention to the eNLC and what states are currently included.
The enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact is an agreement between states. Essentially it means if you have a nursing license within the eNLC you have a multi-state license. Most states are currently members or are about to become members, but there are a few key exclusions like California.
When it comes to building your career, you will want to trace your goals and see which state is the best fit.
Taking Your Nursing Career Out of Nursing
It is also a good idea to understand what you can do with your nursing credentials outside of nursing. Nursing is a very demanding role, and burnout is currently very high. While you may be able to push through or even thrive in a high-paced environment, things do change. Knowing you have a great alternative outside of a high-pressure workplace.
Not only are there ways that you can slow down your career by moving to a slower work environment like a small town hospital or, but alternatively, a clinic you can also take your career out of healthcare and still use your nursing credentials.
Nurse educators, for example, are essential. You will be training the next generation of nurses and enjoy a professor’s work/life balance. You can also work on the health and safety team on many projects.
There are many unique opportunities, particularly for APRNs. Regardless of what interests you knowing your options outside of nursing can help ensure that you continue to make smart decisions for your career at every point in your life. Priorities change, and having a career that can adapt to those priorities is essential for a great work/life balance and a true sense of fulfillment.