How to Become an International Travel Nurse
Filipino hospitality is renowned worldwide, and it’s one of the many reasons Filipino nurses are highly sought-after. According to the New American Economic Research Fund and the US Census Bureau in 2020, roughly 1 in every 20 registered nurses in America is from the Philippines. It is undeniable that Filipino healthcare workers play a vital role in the US medical system.
With the demand for Filipino nurses being especially high during a heightened need for medical services, it must be tempting to start a career as an international travel nurse. Aside from the fulfillment of serving others, the competitive pay and benefits and incredible working conditions sound like great perks. But before dreaming of the benefits, you first need to start building the foundations needed for this career, such as legal matters and academic proficiency.
If you’ve truly decided on becoming an international travel nurse, this article is for you. Go through these valuable pieces of information you must know before stepping out of your country to practice nursing. Remember that as a Filipino nurse, your capabilities and dedication to care for others are already in demand. You just need to answer this demand through proper preparation.
Where To Go
Across the globe, opportunities for international travel nurses are abundant. Some countries with an immediate and high need for registered nurses are Australia, Europe, New Zealand, China, and the Middle East.
But if you’re set on living the American dream and are shooting for the US in particular, here’s a list of the Top 15 states you can explore and their average annual salary for registered nurses:
How to Get Started
After earning a nursing degree, it would be best to find a reliable and trustworthy agency within your home country that will walk you through the whole process and treat you like family. An agency helps you meet basic requirements (such as travel arrangements and legal certifications), acquire suitable international licenses, and secure a nursing position.
For you to be fully prepared to take the first step into being an international travel nurse, here’s a list of what you can expect you’ll need:
Acquire a Visa
To legally migrate to the United States, make sure you follow US federal immigration law and acquire a visa. The minimum requirement would be the registered nurse immigrant visa (H-1B Visa) which grants temporary residency.
However, the visa of choice for international travel nurses from the Philippines is the employment-based permanent residency visa (EB-3 Visa or “Green Card”). This visa has no expiration date and gives you the ability to sponsor your family to move and join you in the US.
EB-3 Visa Requirements:
Bachelor’s degree in nursing from an accredited nursing education program
Certification of passing the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN)
Visa Screen Certificate
Certification of Proficiency with the English language such as:
Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)
Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC)
International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
Pass the NCLEX-RN Exam
Passing the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) can be daunting, but no need to worry. See some helpful tips and strategies below to help you ace the exam:
Purchase NCLEX-RN Study Materials
Get a comprehensive review book, a practice app, and a practice question guide online. These don’t need to be expensive. Pro-tip: all of these are available and downloadable online.
Moreover, preparation includes supplementing your review with practice questions and reviewing the answer rationale. The more you do this, the more prepared you will be.
Set aside at least 6 to 8 weeks of study time per how much time you can commit each week. Stick to your timeline and allot enough time for breaks and relaxation.
Following a schedule, you must develop a detailed study guide. Then, divide the work into the study hours you set aside and burn through chapters in your study plan, bit by bit.
Pro-tip: Add a wiggle room of at least three days for additional practice time or sick days to ensure you stay on schedule.
The exam revolves around a nurse’s ability to prioritize care. So make sure to highlight keywords on your answers based on priority—first, early, and best.
You can answer most questions on the exam in a short amount of time, so do not overcomplicate or overthink. Keep your answers simple. Eliminate the answers you know are wrong. Read and reread every question and answer you provide to ensure you are satisfied and have not skipped any.
Lastly, consider these basic nursing principles in answering:
ABCs – Airway, Breathing, or Circulation
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs – Physiological needs over psychological needs
Nursing Process – Assessment, diagnosis, planning, intervention, and evaluation
Patient Safety – Focus on the basic needs of the patient, reducing hazards that risk injury, reducing risks of transmission of pathogens, and knowing medication rights.
Be Prepared for Exam Day
It is vital to eliminate or reduce all possible stressors on exam day. For you to do this, preparation is key.
Get a good night’s sleep, eat healthy snacks and hydrate, and confirm all trivial details such as the exam location. Lastly, make sure to have identification to present to the test center. Pro-tip: Do not bring anything you don’t need.
Ultimately, believe in yourself. You got this!
Things You Should Know from Your Agency
Working with an innovative and nurturing agency saves you unnecessary pains and helps you avoid feeling overwhelmed. Here are some questions you must ask your travel nurse agency before jumping on board:
What states do you serve?
What is your compensation package? How is it structured?
Do I get health insurance?
Do you provide housing and allowances?
Do I get paid time off?
How long are the assignments? How much time do I have in between them?
Being a Travel Nurse Overseas
Now that you’re all set, what can you expect from living abroad as an international travel nurse? Taking on a new endeavor in a foreign country can be incredibly exciting and a bit overwhelming. Being away from your loved ones can be taxing.
However, one of the great things about Filipino travel nurses is their strength in numbers! Being part of such a big community makes the transition easier and can help feelings of homesickness. It would be a good idea to partner up with a fellow international travel nurse. Find a reliable agency that can secure you and your buddy assignments in the same area at the same time. After some time, you might be able to bring your family to join you.
In terms of practicality, remember to pack light. Make sure that your housing is furnished so that you can focus on bringing only your personal care items and clothing.
Take some time to settle in, give yourself a few days to acclimate to the new environment. Get familiar with your apartment, commute route, and the city. Then, figure out your daily routine and take it easy.
Be confident and remember, you prepared for this.
JUMPSTART YOUR INTERNATIONAL NURSING CAREER WITH US — JOIN A FAMILY OF FILIPINO NURSES TRANSFORMING LIVES TODAY
We at PRS Global are committed to going the extra mile to turn your dream of being an international travel nurse into reality. Explore the world and learn the trade through our transformative career opportunities by beginning your journey with us.
PRS Global follows only the highest ethical recruiting standards in practice. So rest assured, we’ll find the best job for you, including incredible working conditions with competitive pay and benefits. We will make your transition into the American healthcare community a breeze.
Your dreams are our dreams. Your concerns are our concerns. Together, we can start building a bright future. We can’t wait for you to join our family of Filipino nurses! Take a step to a great start as an international travel nurse by contacting us today.