Many immigrant nurses opt to work and move to more developed countries, such as the US, to establish more promising careers and provide for their families in their home countries. That’s why career advancement holds significant value in the nursing profession, and it’s crucial to have a clear understanding of the factors that influence it for migrant nurses. 

We will delve into the challenges and opportunities that these nurses encounter and explore strategies to foster their advancement in leadership positions. 

Fulfilling Healthcare Gaps: The Essential Role of Migrant Nurses 

The American Journal of Nursing forecasts a need for 10.6 million new nurses over the next decade.¹ This is to address the current shortage of nurses and fill the positions left by an anticipated 4.7 million retiring nurses. 

Related Reading: The US Nurse Staffing Shortage in 2023 and Beyond 

Given the projected shortage of nurses, it becomes important to address these gaps strategically. Thus, healthcare organizations must take proactive steps to promote diversity in the industry to manage this challenge effectively.  

One significant avenue is tapping into the valuable perspectives, experiences, and skills of immigrant nurses.  

Having encountered diverse healthcare systems, navigated through intricate immigration policies, and faced cultural nuances, these nurses offer essential insights into breaking down barriers to minority groups’ access to care. Their first-hand experiences uniquely position them to identify issues and gaps that organizational leaders may not have considered. 

Tapping into this knowledge can greatly enrich patient-centered and culturally competent care within an organization. 

Healthcare organizations can also tear down barriers and promote a fairer and more representative healthcare system by encouraging inclusive leadership. Embracing the insights of migrant nurses can lead to innovative solutions and a more comprehensive understanding of healthcare needs, ultimately benefiting both healthcare providers and the diverse communities they serve. 

Promoting Success: Strategies for Supporting Immigrant Nurses 

Explore these effective strategies designed to empower and support immigrant nursing professionals’ professional growth and help them succeed in their careers. 

1. Use motivational interviewing. 

Motivational interviewing involves conversing with the nurse to understand their motivations and needs. A realistic strategy is then developed to achieve the identified goals. It is important to maintain a collaborative approach during the interview, using active listening to ensure that the nurse’s thoughts are accurately expressed. 

Being open and nonjudgmental during your one-on-one talk helps nurses freely share their personal goals, interests, and educational needs. For instance, a nurse feels comfortable sharing that their primary interest lies in specializing in pediatric care. This conversation reveals that the generic training plan you initially had might not be the best fit for this nurse. 

Motivational interviewing not only helps in understanding the nurse’s aspirations but also fosters trust in the process. This trust provides the nurse with a greater sense of control over their professional development, allowing for a more collaborative and empowering approach to career growth. 

2. Be open to career promotions. 

Establish and communicate transparent criteria for advancing into leadership roles within healthcare, ensuring that all nurses have an equal opportunity to pursue senior-level positions. 

For example, these criteria might include acquiring specialized certifications, demonstrating proficiency in handling diverse patient populations, and showcasing effective leadership in interdisciplinary collaboration. 

Such guidelines prove especially beneficial for nurses from various racial and ethnic backgrounds, providing them with a roadmap to prepare for and attain senior-level roles within the healthcare sector. 

3. Offer training and additional educational opportunities. 

Som of the things that often make it hard for nurses to advance professionally are personal expenses related to ongoing education, difficulties in getting time off for education and having to balance childcare or home responsibilities. 

You can help nurses with their ongoing education and professional growth by offering in-house continuing education opportunities. With its convenience and flexibility, providing education at the workplace can boost staff involvement and engagement and foster better relationships among different professionals within your organization. 

Education shouldn’t be confined to traditional classrooms; it can also extend to online platforms. Numerous organizations offer free webinars covering various topics to enrich education and provide up-to-date guidelines. 

  • CDC Training and Continuing Education: Free online courses are provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on topics like infection control, immunization, and public health preparedness. 
  • American Nurses Association (ANA) Online Courses: ANA offers online courses covering various topics, including leadership, ethics, and nursing practice. 
  • Medscape Education: Medscape provides free continuing education activities for healthcare professionals, including nurses, on subjects like pharmacology, patient safety, and disease management. 
  • Khan Academy Health and Medicine Courses: Khan Academy offers free online courses in health and medicine, providing foundational knowledge on topics relevant to nursing. 

Nurses, especially those unable to attend live classes due to work hours or travel constraints, can conveniently access these webinars from home. Many nurses may be unaware of the online resources available for self-paced learning. 

By promoting these resources on an educational bulletin board in the breakroom, nurses can become more aware of the diverse and accessible online learning opportunities available to them. 

Related Reading: Is Continuing Education Worthwhile for Global Nurses? 

4. Promote collaborative decision-making. 

Institutional awareness is important for professional growth. And shared governance facilitates a work environment for nurses that encourages involvement, role development, taking responsibility for their work, fostering a positive atmosphere, and supporting professional development. 

Encourage and support staff to get involved at unit and institutional levels. For instance, if there’s a monthly hospital-wide infection prevention meeting, suggest that other nurses schedule themselves to work on that day so they can attend. 

You can also provide education hours for staff to come in and attend hospital-level meetings. This fosters a sense of professional responsibility and accountability while empowering nurses for their professional development and growth. 

Related Reading: Cross-Training Nurses 101: Everything You Need to Know 

5. Encourage and support personal well-being. 

McKinsey identified the main reasons why nurses don’t seek professional mental health support:² 

  • 49 percent mentioned they haven’t needed mental health support. 
  • 29 percent cited a lack of time. 
  • 23 percent felt they should manage their mental health. 
  • 11 percent lacked confidence in mental health treatment. 
  • 10 percent stated a lack of financial resources. 

While these statistics shed light on the reasons nurses may hesitate to seek professional mental health support, it’s crucial to understand the implications. The identified barriers underscore the need for targeted initiatives to overcome stigma, improve accessibility, and foster a culture where nurses feel comfortable prioritizing their mental well-being. 

To address the ongoing challenge of getting professional help, it’s important to take actions that support and encourage nurses’ mental health and well-being. Nurses who strike a healthy work-life balance are more effective in their roles. Burnout poses risks to patient safety, nurse engagement, and staff turnover, negatively impacting professional growth. 

Show support for their mental health by ensuring nurses have enough time off and leave on time after their shifts. Promote the use of available paid time off and limit calls to nurses at home for non-urgent matters that can wait until their next shift. 

Related Reading: World Mental Health Day 2023: 7 Coping Strategies for the Nurse Burnout Syndrome 

6. Develop a mentorship program. 

Mentorship is when someone with more experience helps another person. A good mentorship can retain staff, help experienced nurses grow, and help them plan for the future. 

Instead of ending the connection with a mentor after a new nurse is trained, turn it into a mentoring relationship. This way, the new nurse can have personal discussions with an experienced nurse about career goals, work challenges, and time management. This kind of relationship boosts staff resilience and helps keep nurses engaged and on the team. 

CHAMPION THE INVALUABLE CONTRIBUTIONS OF MIGRANT NURSES WITH PRS GLOBAL 

In recognizing the critical contributions of nurse migrants, it’s important to support and celebrate their invaluable role in healthcare globally actively. When you partner with PRS Global, we can create a supportive environment that acknowledges and utilizes their diverse skills, empowering nurse migrants to advance in their careers. 

Contact us today, and let’s begin contributing to building stronger and more resilient healthcare systems. 

References 

1 “NewsCAP: Nursing Workforce Crisis Looms with 4 Million Nurses Retiring by 2030.” AJN, American Journal of Nursing, vol. 121, no. 3, Mar. 2021, pp. 17–17, https://doi.org/10.1097/01.naj.0000737264.77148.47. 

2 “Understanding and Addressing Nurse Burnout | McKinsey.” www.mckinsey.com, www.mckinsey.com/industries/healthcare/our-insights/understanding-and-prioritizing-nurses-mental-health-and-well-being