Frequently Asked Questions for Nurses
What is the CGFNS Certificate?
The Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) issue certificates to foreign nurses who have passed a nursing qualifying exam and fulfilled the English language requirements. The CGFNS certificate is required for US immigration, by most US state nursing boards, as well as by many US hospitals. We strongly recommend all candidates who want to practice nursing in the US to take the exam, which happens 3 times per year. For more information visit the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools website.
Am I committed by completing your registration form?
No, the application form is only a request for information so that we know a little more about your nursing skills and nursing education. This will help us determine the most appropriate path for you. You are not committed to anything at this stage. All information is kept strictly confidential.
As a nurse, do I have to pay to register with GNS?
No, our employees do not pay us a fee. However, there are charges imposed by some regulatory bodies in the U.S.A. and there may be some costs involved in the application process; for example, when certified English transcripts of your educational certificates are needed. We will explain in detail what costs are necessary, when they will be paid, and by whom. GNS will reimburse you for NCLEX, IELTS, and Visa Screen costs after you arrive in the USA. GNS staff is available to make the entire process hassle-free and to ensure that everything moves along as smoothly as possible.
Will my qualification levels be good enough to work in the USA?
The best thing to do is to fill in the application form on the website and we can let you know quickly how we can best help you. Once completed, email the entire application to email@example.com and a staff member will contact you.
Is my English good enough?
You will need to take the TOEFL/TSE test for the USA or the IELTS test for the UK or USA unless you received your nursing education in Australia, Canada, Ireland, NZ or UK. We would recommend enrolling in an English language course as soon as possible if you are unsure. We can also introduce you to English language schools which can help improve your English. You can quickly check your English levels by taking an on-line test here: Cambridge University English language test.
How long will it take to get to the USA?
It varies, but we will get you here as quickly as possible. If you have completed the CGFNS certificate and/or NCLEX, it typically takes less than 12 months.
Why do I need the VisaScreen Certificate?
In order to be eligible for a Green Card you must obtain a Visascreen certificate issued by the International Commission on Healthcare Professionals (ICHP). This is proof that you have passed the NCLEX and IELTS exams. We will help you secure the certificate if you do not already have it.
If I complete your registration form, does that mean I have made a commitment to GNS?
No, the application form is only a request for information so that we might know a little more about your nursing skills and education. That will help us define the most appropriate path for you. All information is kept strictly confidential. We will enter you into The Qualifying Analysis program to determine your eligibility.
Does GNS have a program to help me deal with cultural issues?
Yes. We offer a full-service assimilation process to help you adjust to your new life. A member of our Start-Up Team will meet you at the airport and stay with you the first week. You will be taken to your housing accommodations, accompanied to the grocery store, and introduced to the community. Our team member will also help you find appropriate places of worship if desired, assist you in securing Photo ID and SS cards, and introduce you to facility staff. In addition to your initial orientation, you will have ongoing personal support available to you throughout your tenure with GNS. You will also receive monthly newsletters, connecting you to the rest of the GNS community.
I am a registered nurse and want a job in the USA. How can GNS help?
GNS partners with hospitals in the U.S. who are looking for high-quality registered nurses. GNS can help you find a rewarding nursing job and guide you through the licensure and immigration process.
What if I don’t have e-mail?
Will someone help me complete the immigrant visa forms and will I be counseled for the immigrant visa interview?
Yes. An immigration specialist who has expertise in this process will personally help you complete the immigrant visa forms and will also mentor you for a successful immigrant visa interview.
After the interview is completed and the immigrant visa is granted when can I officially immigrate to the U.S.?
Will my spouse and child(ren) be able to immigrate with me at the same time?
Yes. They will also need to complete immigration forms and must be present at the immigrant visa interview. Additional fees are required.
What is "Schedule A"?
“Schedule A” is a list of categories designated by the U.S. Department. of Labor as not requiring alien labor certification. It is a list of occupations that the Secretary of Labor has deemed to be in short supply in the U.S. For the last decade, there have been only two occupations on this list: physical therapists and registered nurses.
How do I take the NCLEX or CGFNS if I'm not in the US?
Arrangements must be made for you to study and take the exams prior to filing the U.S. Permanent Residence case.
What are the rates of pay in the US?
It will depend on the prevailing wage where you are working. Additionally, we offer many benefits, including shift differential, overtime pay, health insurance, temporary housing, and more.
What English Language scores are required for the TOEFL/TSE or IELTS exams?
For the UK you need a general IELTS score of 6.5, with at least a score of 5.5 in every section. For the US you must get a TOEFL score of 207 and TSE of 50. Alternatively, for the U.S., you must have an IELTS Academic score of 6.5, and a minimum of 7.0 speaking.
What is NCLEX?
Every Nurse in America must pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) to receive an RN license. To be eligible to take the NCLEX, you must apply to a U.S. state Board of Nursing. Your license can be endorsed to your state of employment after arrival. GNS can help you with this process, as well as assist you in preparing for exams.
Do I have to be a registered General Nurse to qualify for an American nursing license?
Yes. All nurses in America are trained to a general level. If you are a RMN, RSCN, Midwife etc, you will need to become Double Trained in order to qualify.
Frequently Asked Questions for Healthcare Facilities
What steps can be taken to minimize culture shock?
Preparing nurses and their families for culture shock and closely monitoring for it can alleviate the potential for a difficult adjustment to life in the U.S. Educating your staff, especially preceptors, can enable them to detect the subtle signs of culture shock prior to its making a significant impact on the nurse, and in extreme cases, potentially prevent a nurse from considering a return to his/ her home country.
What are some of the most important issues to evaluate prior to beginning international nurse recruitment?
There are three main issues to consider when making the decision to hire foreign-trained nurses: long-term retention of foreign nurses, options available for international nurse recruitment, and commitment of the hospital or health system.
Why is retention so important?
Ideally, international nurses should be recruited to fill a hospital’s core staff positions. Many foreign trained nurses are relocating family and prefer to settle in your community on a permanent basis. From a cultural and professional perspective, planning and preparing for the retention of these nurses is a vital element. Although no formal studies have been done, some hospitals that began recruitment of foreign nurses in the mid- to late 1980’s reported retention rates as high as 50% fifteen years later.
What types of activities can my hospital do to transition and retain foreign nurses?
Education is vital to preparing the various clinical areas of the hospital to receive foreign trained nurses. The education should be focused on cultural and practice differences, as well as measures each staff member can take to acclimate and transition the nurses. Also, understanding culture shock and the impact it will have on the foreign nurse and your staff is extremely important.
Why have some hospitals been very successful at direct international recruitment and others have not?
Hospitals tend to be successful in direct recruitment of international nurses when they designate staff or create a department that is dedicated to the initiative. Knowledgeable and experienced nursing staff members usually lead the department. An “International Nurse Recruitment Department” is generally responsible for preparation, education, and initiation of programs and activities necessary to succeed.
Why should my hospital opt for long-term contracts when considering international nurse recruitment?
Hospitals that commit to offering long-term contract assignments should be offered significant clinical and transitioning support for the foreign nurse and hospital staff, as well as replacement clauses for unsuccessful nurses and those who are not a good “fit” for the facility. In addition, recruitment companies should closely monitor foreign nurses during orientation. They should have clinical staff available to work with preceptors or nurse managers to detect and correct any issues that may arise. The recruitment company should also handle all “non-vocational” transitioning issues, such as; helping spouses to secure employment, enrolling children in schools, locating appropriate childcare, filing income taxes, establishing credit, and numerous other issues.
Is the long-term contract option of international recruitment the most costly option?
No, not always. In fact, it can be more cost effective in numerous ways.
Is selecting an experienced recruitment company important?
Yes, very important. Many aspects of the international nurse recruitment process are learned through trial and error. Experienced companies can and should use their experience to advance the healthcare industry, preparing both the nurses and receiving hospitals.
Why is preparing for culture shock so important?
It is extremely important to understand culture shock and the covert and subtle impact it can have on the foreign nurse. Various phases of culture shock can take a toll on foreign nurses and their families. It can lead to physical illness and manifestations of grieving and/or depression.
What international nurse recruitment options are available to me?
Two staffing options are available from recruitment companies - long-term contract to permanent placement and direct placement.
What are the primary reasons hospitals decide to work with a recruitment company?
Most hospitals choose to work with recruitment companies because they recognize that they are not properly positioned to accomplish it on their own. They do not want to create an internal department to facilitate and monitor licensure, immigration, education of in-house staff, clinical transition of foreign nurses, and the social and cultural transition of the nurse and his or her family. In addition, they prefer to not address ancillary issues such as securing accommodations, purchasing cars, or establishing a personal credit line.
How do you ensure the quality of your nurses?
All of our nurses are personally interviewed by our Nurse Manager. GNS only considers nurses with the following minimum requirements:
What can my hospital do to transition and retain foreign nurses?
Education is a critical aspect of preparing clinical areas of the hospital to receive foreign-trained nurses. It should focus on cultural and procedural differences, as well as the measures each staff member can take to help acclimate and transition the nurse. Understanding culture shock and its potential impact on the foreign nurse and your staff is also extremely important.
My hospital has ethical concerns about foreign nurse recruitment. What information can be provided to address and alleviate those concerns?
The International Council for Nurses (ICN) has released a position statement on ethical nurse recruitment. Key points of the statement focus on source countries, recruitment practices, and clinical transitioning support. ICN recognizes the right of individual nurses to migrate, and confirms the potential beneficial outcomes of multicultural practice and learning opportunities supported by migration. ICN condemns the practice of recruiting nurses to countries where authorities have failed to implement sound human resource planning and to seriously address problems which cause nurses to leave the profession and discourage them from returning to it. ICN denounces unethical recruitment practices that exploit nurses or mislead them into accepting job responsibilities and working conditions that are incompatible with their qualifications, skills, and experience.