Recruitment of Foreign Nurses

Recruitment of Foreign Nurses


The recruitment of foreign nurses remains a controversial issue in the United States’ hospitals. The current rise in numbers of patient and a decline in number of qualified professional nurses in the United States have created a necessity to import nurses from foreign countries. Additionally, lack of trained personnel in public health nursing in the United States has also created a need to recruit foreign nurses (Cherry & Jacob, 2008). It has been forecasted that, by the year 2020 there will be an acute shortage of nurses in the United States. This situation has made the United States government and private health providers to establish an immediate short-term intervention measure of recruiting foreign nurses to arrest the situation before it gets out of control (Ellis & Hartley, 2004). The U.S. government and private hospitals have taken steps by starting to recruit foreign nurses irrespective of their country of origin so long as they meet all the federal recruitment requirements. For a foreigner to qualify for recruitment as a nurse in US, one must satisfy the stipulated federal requirements and abide by the rules and regulations of the American Organization of Nurses Executives (AONE). Cultural and ethical considerations must be taken into account by recruitment agency firm (Brown & Brown, 2011). The terms and duration of service must be put into consideration. In most cases, the most companies hire foreign educated nurses for the duration of two to three years contract which might be renewable upon expiry (Hammaker & Tomlinson, 2011).

History of Recruitment of Foreign Nurses in the U.S

The recruitment of foreign nurses in the United States hospitals has been in existence for the last fifty years. The US has been hiring nurses from India, Nigeria, and Philippines and from many other countries. Recruitment of foreign nurses has been prevalent given the fact that, the number of patients in the US hospitals has been escalating persistently (Hammaker & Tomlinson, 2011). In the year 1995, approximately ten thousand nurses from foreign countries received licenses as registered nurses. In 1990, the number of companies which brought foreign educated nurses was at an increase due to high demand of Nurses. In 2007, the United State was experiencing a shortage of nurses and escalating mortality rate in U.S. hospitals during this period the U.S. government processed of Visa to foreign nurses within a short duration. During this period, a numerous number of nurses from Philippians were hired, and this led to increase in number of Filipino nurses immigrants in the US (Feldman & Alexander, 2012). The situation made almost every U.S. hospital to have nurses from Philippians. The reduction of availability of Visa supply by the United State government has currently led to shortage of nurses in the U.S. hospitals. The reduction of visa supply was as a result of economic recession that was being experienced in 2008. During this period, employees in various companies were laid up since a majority of the companies could not maintain, given the escalating cost of leaving. Many hospitals in the United States and United Kingdom prefer hiring nurses from foreign countries because hiring and retaining nurses from home country is quite expensive (Nursing mirror, 1977). The employers must pay an average of five thousand to ten thousand dollars as agency recruitment fees for every nurse. The number of newly trained and licensed nurses in the United States has been increasing significantly since 2005. This is according to American state council board of nursing. It was reported that, in the year 2005, the number of newly licensed nurses was nighty nine thousand one hundreds and eighty seven. This figure has been rising persistently over the years. However, despite the above increase in number of newly licensed nurses, United States has continued to experience the shortage of nurses and hence creating a need to hire foreign nurses (Nichols, Davis, Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (U.S.), STAT! Ref & Teton Data Systems 2009).

Pros and cons of foreign Nurses recruitment

Recruitment of foreign nurses has proved to be vital to the exporting countries and the importing countries as well as to individual. It has been reported that, hospitals, which hire foreign nurses do not have to incur the average agency recruitment cost. The cost is approximate five thousand to ten thousand dollars, which the hospital could have incurred as a result of hiring local nurses. This means that hospitals are able to make a cost reduction in the long run by adopting the strategy of recruiting foreign nurses (Feldman & Alexander, 2012). Recruitment of foreign educated nurses has enabled the economy of United States to grow significantly because a majority of foreign educated nurses can provide high quality health services to patients. Additionally, hiring of foreign educated nurses has helped the United States government and other importing countries to reduce mortality rates of their people significantly (Hammaker & Tomlinson, 2011). This is because patients can have access to highly qualified nurses who understand their medical conditions and offer them with appropriate diagnosis. Foreign, educated nurses have helped to feel numerous vacant positions in American health system, hence, improving health provision in the United States. On the other hand, foreign educated nurses are able to meet their life expenses and support their families in their home countries. The economy of the exporting country to obtain additional income from its exported nurses in the form of gross income from broad and export tariffs. This income has contributed to a positive growth of the exporting countries (Kelly, 2012).

However, foreign nursing recruitment has some disadvantages despite a lot of advantages to both parties. The exporting countries face the problem of brain drain, which normally occurs when the exporting countries spend a substantial amount of resources to train their people as nurses (Moore & Simendinger, 1989). The nurses do not give back to their countries by working in their respective countries but rather they go to work in foreign countries. They use the knowledge and skills they have acquired in the home countries to promote the economy of other countries. In 1998, it was reported that, professionals’ nurses aged between the age brackets of twenty five to thirty five years who migrated from South Africa to United States to work, made the economy of South Africa to loss approximately one hundred and eighty four dollars annually. This is because South Africa economy incurred the cost of training their nurses without reaping any returns after training (Oermann & Heinrich, 2006). On the other hand, the United States economy benefited from quality services rendered by those nurses. Additionally, foreign nurses’ recruitment in United States has led to the emergence of controversies between the United States local nurses foreign educated nurses. This is because there has been tension among the domestic nurses that foreign nurses would overcrowd the United States labor market and compromise the salaries for domestic nurses. In above connection, foreign nurses’ recruitment has subjected foreign educated nurses to unequal treatment (Hammaker & Tomlinson, 2011).


The foreign nurse recruitment has proved to be vital to both exporting countries and importing countries as well as to the nurses. It is important to nurses themselves in the sense that, it provides locally trained and qualified nurses with an opportunity to work in the diaspora especially if there limited chances in their domestic countries. Philippines and India motivated their national to pursue nursing courses so that they can work a broad and help their families in the home countries through domestic remittance. On the other hand, the exporting countries are able to obtain additional income through exports tariffs and promote the economic development of their countries. After South Africa found that most of its nationals, whom they had trained as nurses, were going to work a broad, it started charging tariffs to the importing countries. On the other hand, the importing countries can fill the gap of with qualified nurses who tend to provide quality health care services to their patients. Therefore, based on the above discussion, the paper supports the recruitment of foreign nurses because the benefits that accrue to countries involved and the individuals are numerous as compared to the limitations. Therefore, all countries and young people are encouraged to pursue a career in nursing to meet the anticipated shortage of nurses in the United States by the year 2020.




Brown, S. A., & Brown, M. (2011). Ethical issues and security monitoring trends in global healthcare: Technological advancements. Hershey, PA: Medical Information Science Reference.

Cherry, B., & Jacob, S. R. (2008). Contemporary nursing: Issues, trends & management. St. Louis, Mo: Mosby/Elsevier.

Ellis, J. R., & Hartley, C. L. (2004). Nursing in today’s world: Trends, issues & management. Philadelphia, Penns: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Feldman, H. R., & Alexander, G. R. (2012). Nursing leadership: A concise encyclopedia. New York: Springer.

Hammaker, D. K., & Tomlinson, S. J. (2011). Health care management and the law: Principles and applications. Clifton Park, NY: Delmar/Cengage Learning.

Kelly, P. (2012). Nursing leadership & management. Clifton Park, NY: Cengage Learning.

Moore, T. F., & Simendinger, E. A. (1989). Managing the nursing shortage: A guide to recruitment and retention. Rockville, Md: Aspen Publishers.

Nichols, B. L., Davis, C. R., Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (U.S.), STAT! Ref (Online service), & Teton Data Systems (Firm). (2009). The official guide for foreign-educated nurses: What you need to know about nursing and health care in the United States. New York: Springer Pub. Co.

Nursing mirror. (1977). Sutton, Surrey, Eng.: IPC Specialist and Professional Press, etc.

Oermann, M. H., & Heinrich, K. T. (2006). Innovations in curriculum, teaching, and student and faculty development. New York: Springer Pub. Co.

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