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OET Career round-up: motivation, commitment, and determination - moving to the United States

 

We spoke with Sylvia Mullarkey, Founder and CEO of Global Nurse Partners, a nurse placement agency in the United States. Sylvia launched Global Nurse Partners in 2021, as a full-service direct-hire program to empower nurses and support healthcare facilities throughout the process. She works directly with internationally experienced nurses who are seeking placements in US healthcare facilities. In the below Q&A, Sylvia shares her insights on immigration to the US, how nurses can stand out in applications, and top interview tips.

 

Q: What are some of the rewarding experiences you’ve had at Global Nurse Partners? What are some of the challenges?

A: Undoubtedly, the reward is watching the nurses and their families flourish personally and professionally. The dream of relocating to the US makes the journey joyful, but it’s not easy! It calls for motivation, commitment, and determination. Seeing all that hard work pay off and the fulfilment enjoyed is inspiring.

The biggest challenge by far is the immigration process. We’re currently experiencing visa retrogression for immigrant visas (green cards), and the process timelines are delayed. Not all facilities are eligible to sponsor H-1B visas, which are non-immigrant visas, so many nurses have a long wait to get to the US. Uncertainty can cause frustration and stress, as it’s hard to plan life when you’re stuck and have no control over the process. I believe everyone in the industry shares a common hope that the immigration process will one day be overhauled. Hopefully, an expedited process will be considered for highly skilled professionals whose expertise is in demand. 

  

Q: What is the job application process like for nurses who are interested in relocating to the US? What are some of the challenges they face?

A: The NCLEX-RN is the first step, as a US RN license is required for employment-based immigration sponsorship. The NCLEX-RN is a national exam; however, each US state has specific requirements and issues a state-specific license. So, as part of the license application, a nurse may need to show proof of passing an English language test and have their nursing credentials evaluated. The steps of this process can be a bit of a maze, so it’s a good idea to seek guidance from the company or agency the nurse plans on working with.  

With an NCLEX pass, nurses are eligible for immigration sponsorship and direct hire/permanent opportunities, and this is when healthcare facilities will interview for staff positions. Once a job offer is received, the placement agency will manage the immigration process. Some agencies, like Global Nurse Partners, will pay for VisaScreen certification and manage and pay for the nurse’s relocation, licensure endorsement, and setup upon arrival in the US. So, the heavy lifting begins with the NCLEX, but once a nurse passes the exam, a reputable agency will assist with the rest of the steps to ensure your success.

 

Q: Aside from essential information that is required in resumes, what other information should professionals include in applications or ‘about me’ sections?

A: Potential employers want a concise snapshot of the applicant’s profile to determine whether their education and clinical experience meet the job requirements.

A good starting point is to provide details of nursing education by listing the country of education and whether the nursing degree or diploma was a 3- or 4-year program. Follow this with a quick overview of nursing experience to include the total years of experience and details about the current role worked in, including clinical specialty, the number of years worked in the specialty, the type of unit/ward, the number of beds in the healthcare facility, the number of beds in the unit/ward, and current patient-to-nurse ratio.

This level of detail presented in a clear format will allow an applicant’s profile to stand out and increase their chances of being shortlisted for an interview.

 

Q: What are some of the ways that nurses can stand out and make an impression in interviews?

A: If selected for an interview, the nurse should be prepared to talk a bit about themselves, including why they chose nursing as a career and their current specialty as their focus. Then, they should be ready to talk to their current patient population and the illnesses or injuries they care for. More specifically, they should be prepared to provide an example and summary of a recent patient experience, including the diagnosis, the plan of care, how the patient was managed, the medications used to support them, and the outcome.

The nurse needs to speak to their expertise concisely and walk the interviewer through the steps taken to care for their patient. Such a methodological approach allows the nurse to share their critical thinking skills, which they’ll be accessed on.

Most interviewers invite nurses to ask questions toward the end of an interview. This is a crucial finale, as well-constructed questions create dialogue, enabling the nurse and interviewer to learn more about each other. So, questions should be prepared in advance, and the nurse should have three or four ready to ask.

  

Q: What professional skills and soft skills are employers seeking in nurses?

A: Employers seek a balanced combination of professional and soft skills accompanied by the desire and drive to develop both further. 

When reviewing professional skills, employers want to understand the depth of a nurse’s technical knowledge and experience based on clinical specialty. Fundamentals that are assessed include the ability to respond to a patient’s medical needs, patient safety measures, patient and family education, and technology skills. However, most employers know that international nurses need training specific to the facility’s technology and are open to providing that.

For soft skills, employers look for details on how nurses navigate their work environment and collaborate with their colleagues. Communication skills are at the top of the list, including verbal, non-verbal, written, and emotional intelligence. Critical thinking skills, problem-solving, time management, teamwork, dependability, and collaboration closely follow communication effectiveness.

 

To find out more about Global Nurse Partners, visit their website.

 

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