Bringing global nurses into the U.S. healthcare fold is an exciting opportunity, but it’s not without challenges. These include language barriers, cultural adjustments, and the intricacies of a new healthcare system. Without the right onboarding, these challenges can stand in the way of what could be a remarkable journey for both nurses and healthcare facilities. 

We’re putting the spotlight on why onboarding matters. It’s more than just licenses; it also ensures global nurses thrive in their new roles. Join us as we tackle the challenges and discover how a solid onboarding process can turn potential obstacles into stepping stones for an enriching and successful career in their new environment.  

Why Tailored Onboarding Matters 

In nursing, over 18 percent of newly licensed registered nurses leave the field within the first year of their licensure.¹ The reasons for their departure? Beyond the common culprits like understaffed facilities and demanding work environments, there’s a crucial factor: the absence of tailored guidance and oversight. This issue amplifies for those still finding their footing in the nursing profession. 

This is where specified onboarding sessions come into play. These programs aren’t just about welcoming international nurses. They also provide a smooth transition into the job by offering specialized training, coaching, and a roadmap to understand their new healthcare scene. 

Through individualized support tailored to each participant’s needs, these programs improve communication abilities, cultivate cultural competency, and advance knowledge of regional healthcare practices. In addition to accelerating the foreign nurses’ adjustment, this personalized strategy supports their long-term retention in the healthcare facility, professional growth, and satisfaction with their work. 

Global nurses can benefit significantly from onboarding programs, which ease their transition into a new hospital setting and foster professional success. Some benefits include: 

Smooth Integration 

By giving international nurses the knowledge and assistance they need to manage the nuances of a new workplace, such as organizational culture, policies, and procedures, onboarding programs help them integrate smoothly. This integration process fosters a sense of confidence in their jobs and a sense of belonging. 

Enhanced Job Satisfaction 

Effective onboarding programs raise job satisfaction by making them feel valued, supported, and ready to succeed. A positive onboarding process can also boost employees’ motivation, dedication, and involvement with the business. 

Retention and Longevity 

Investing in onboarding initiatives for global nurses shows a dedication to their welfare and advancement as professionals. Additionally, organizations with a robust onboarding process witness an 82 percent boost in new hire retention and 70 percent surge in productivity.² 

When foreign nurses experience a top-notch onboarding journey, they’re more likely to embrace their roles and stick around for the long term. This decreases turnover rates and the related expenses of hiring new staff. 

Challenges Global Nurses Face 

Global nurses tackling a new healthcare system encounter language barriers affecting communication with colleagues and patients. Cultural differences also contribute to disorientation, impacting healthcare methods and workplace norms.  

Moreover, navigating complex regulations and licensing adds another layer of difficulty. Thus, adapting to the intricacies of a new healthcare system, including paperwork and technology, poses challenges. 

Access to professional development may be hindered, affecting career growth and clinical abilities. And, the stress of relocation, adapting to a new work environment, and managing personal and professional responsibilities can lead to burnout and decreased well-being. 

To tackle these obstacles, specialized assistance is needed, such as mentorship, orientation programs, language and cultural competency training, and access to resources for well-being and professional growth. 

Related Article: 6 Top Challenges Faced by Global Nurses Moving to the US And How to Address Them

Onboarding Global Nurses: Topics and Practices to Explore 

Jarrard, Inc.’s nursing survey sheds light on a critical need—onboarding programs, often rated at a modest 6-7 on a scale of 1-10 by nurses, call for improvement. Simultaneously, only two-thirds or less believe their organizations provide adequate resources for new nurses.³  

Recognizing these gaps is crucial as the global healthcare landscape undergoes constant transformations, demanding seamless integration of foreign-educated nurses into healthcare teams. 

Understanding Their Unique Needs 

Foreign-educated nurses, though bringing diverse experiences to healthcare, often struggle with a new work environment. Challenges like unfamiliarity with local healthcare practices, cultural differences, and language barriers are common. The key to effective onboarding for these nurses is recognizing and addressing these hurdles head-on to ensure their effective integration into your healthcare organization. 

Language and Communication Training 

Good communication is essential to providing high-quality healthcare. To assist foreign-educated nurses in improving their language skills and comprehending the subtleties of medical terminology, onboarding programs should include language and communication training.  

It is possible to combine mentorship programs, language instruction, and courses on cultural awareness to promote supportive work environments and successful communication. 

Cultural Integration Workshops 

Providing quality care means understanding each patient’s unique needs and perspectives. Cultural integration workshops can help nurses from all backgrounds come together and learn from each other. These interactive sessions could cover topics like: 

  • Building open and respectful communication across cultures 
  • Recognizing how cultural backgrounds shape health perspectives and behaviors 
  • Following ethical and safety standards important to the local community 
  • Navigating different healthcare practices and protocols 

The goal is to create shared understanding and sensitivity so nurses can feel empowered to provide compassionate, patient-centered care. By learning about different viewpoints in a judgment-free environment, nurses develop valuable skills for connecting with and caring for all patients. 

Orientation to Local Healthcare Systems 

For global nurses, navigating the complexities of a new healthcare system can be overwhelming. Thus, comprehensive orientation workshops covering local healthcare policies, procedures, and regulatory needs should be a part of onboarding programs.  

This covers patient documentation procedures, an introduction to electronic health records, and an awareness of the many responsibilities that healthcare professionals play within the organization. For nurses with foreign educational backgrounds, a facility tour with a guide and introductions to important individuals can also aid in their adjustment. 

Mentorship Programs 

Creating mentorship programs is an important part of the onboarding process that can make a big difference in the success of nurses with foreign educations. Easing their transition can be achieved by assigning them to knowledgeable coworkers who can advise, counsel, and support them.  

Mentorship programs can also aid in social integration, assisting nurses with foreign educations in forming friendships and professional networks within the medical community. 

Related Article: Be Your Best Self: 6 Ways You Can Elevate Your Nursing Career 

Customized Professional Development Plans 

Onboarding programs should include informing nurses of individualized development plans tailored to each nurse’s strengths and growth opportunities. This personalized approach may involve: 

  • Regular coaching sessions 
  • Targeted training workshops 
  • Access to development resources 

It should support each nurse’s professional journey on an individual level. By customizing development and resources based on specific needs and learning styles, nurses are set up for success in their patient care. 

Supporting Wellbeing 

The transition to a new country and job can be challenging. Onboarding programs should inform nurses about available resources that promote mental, emotional, and physical health: 

  • Employee assistance programs 
  • Counseling and wellness services 
  • Materials on self-care, stress management, and work-life balance 

By connecting nurses early on with support systems for their wellbeing, onboarding programs empower individuals to prioritize self-care while adjusting to new environments. Ongoing access to mental health services and work-life resources contributes to the long-term wellness of all team members. 

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

Evaluation and Feedback Mechanisms 

Feedback and ongoing assessment are critical elements of any effective onboarding program. Frequent check-ins with internationally-trained nurses and feedback sessions with mentors and nurses can yield important information about how effectively the onboarding procedure works.  

This enables organizations to handle new issues, make the necessary corrections, and guarantee continued support for their nursing personnel who have received their education abroad. 


A robust onboarding program is key to strengthening your nursing teams and advancing patient care. Welcoming skilled, global nurses to your facility is a transformative step, and PRS Global is your dedicated partner in connecting with top-quality nursing professionals worldwide. 

If you’re seeking assistance in building a solid onboarding process and connecting with exceptional global nursing talent, PRS Global is here for you. Elevate your healthcare workforce and ensure a seamless integration for international nurses. Contact us today so you can start onboarding global nurses soon. 


1 “Why Nurses Quit and Leave the Profession.” Nursing World, Accessed 26 Jan. 2024. 

2 Mazur, Caitlin. “17 Incredible Onboarding Statistics [2023]: HR Trends in Hiring, Training, and Retention.” Zippia, 26 Feb. 2023, 

3 Beyond Burnout, Part II: What Nurses Want Now.” Jarrard, Accessed 26 Jan. 2024.