This is a guide for RCN members considering working overseas. It gives advice on country research, language, qualification and registration requirements, attending interviews and what to consider before accepting a job.
Country profiles can also be found at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and the World Health OrganisationCarry out a ‘working overseas’ literature search of the RCN’s Library of eBooks and eJournals.If you’re looking to mix your love of healthcare with your sense of adventure, consider a career as a travel nurse abroad. Along with roles across the United States, you may find opportunities for international travel nursing jobs in destinations such as Europe, Australia, and the Middle East.
A career in overseas nursing can come with a lot of questions, from where you can go to how much money you can make. Use this guide as a starting point to get the answers you need to these questions and more.
How International Travel Nursing Works
Like with travel nursing in the U.S., international nursing jobs are typically found through agencies within their home countries. The first step is getting any necessary nursing license in the country where you’d like to work. Each country will have its own requirements, so it’s up to you to do adequate research.
Where are travel nurses needed overseas?
You can find opportunities for travel nursing abroad in destinations across the world. Some of the areas with the highest need for nurses include Australia, New Zealand, China, and the Middle East. Areas prone to high rates of disease and natural disasters may also have a demand for rapid response nurses who can provide critical care in the aftermath of these events.
It’s important to note, however, that it’s not common to find an agency that’ll send you to a country where you don’t speak the language. You’ll be expected to have at least a working knowledge of the local language before you’ll be considered for a nursing role in a foreign country.
Benefits of International Travel Nursing
Not only does international travel nursing allow you to experience other cultures in new parts of the world, it can expand your own skills as a nurse as well. You’ll likely be exposed to different types of medical procedures and learn how to better communicate with a variety of patients. You’ll get to grow your own abilities while also lending your talents to a likely underserved area.
After completing an assignment, you also have the option to take time off. Some agencies allow you to take as much time off between assignments as you choose, while others put a cap on the number of days you can take in a row. However, taking an extended amount of time off could affect any benefits you might have, so make sure you fully understand the way your agency works.
Salary & Benefits
Every country will have different salary ranges, but even in places where compensation doesn’t reach U.S. levels, there are other benefits that can make overseas nursing a rewarding job in many ways.
Most countries around the world pay significantly less than you’ll find for travel nursing jobs across the United States. Furthermore, the pay will vary widely depending on your location and specialty, so there’s no solid answer to be given here.
You might expect to earn more if you specialize in areas such as cardiac catheterization, oncology, anesthesia, and pediatric and neonatal intensive care.
Where will I make the most money?
There are some locations, however, that are known to pay more than others. Outside the U.S. and Canada, the Middle East is where you’re likely to make the highest salary.
How do compensation and benefits work overseas?
Compensation and benefits work differently depending on your city, your country, and your agency. The only way to know exactly how your package will break down is to ask the agency for which you work.
Usually, you’ll receive an hourly wage that might seem somewhat low, but your pay is supplemented with additional benefits. Most agencies provide furnished housing for the duration of your contract, along with stipends for meals and additional travel. Your agency might also offer medical, dental, and vision insurance, as well as paid time off, reimbursement for licensing, and end-of-assignment bonuses.
How to Become an International Travel Nurse
Pursuing a travel nurse career means taking a few extra steps to be prepared for work in your new home.
Licensing and certification requirements
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Following successful completion of your program, you’ll need to pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) in order to apply for a nursing license in the U.S. But if you’re planning to pursue travel nursing positions abroad, you’ll also need to secure any additional credentials that your travel country requires. This could mean simply taking a test, gaining certification, or completing an entirely new program.
You’ll then need to make sure you have a passport, a visa, a work permit, and any sponsorship that’s necessary. Each country will also have their own list of other documentation you need to present, such as your birth certificate, immunization records, and professional references. The full process can sometimes take a year to complete and may also be expensive depending on additional requirements.