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By January 12, 2011 1 Comments

Ask a Travel Nurse: How do Australian nurses start travel nursing in United States?


australian nurse packing luggage for travel nursing job Ask a Travel Nurse Question:

I am an Australian registered nurse working in an emergency department in Australia. I graduated November 2009 and have been working in the department since March 2010.

I am wanting to travel to the New York/New Jersey area and wanting to work as a RN.

I am wanting some advice if I have a chance at getting registration over there with my limited experience? I have done a little research and found to be eligible to sit the exams you have to have worked a certain amount of hours in medical/surgical areas, mental health, midwifery and pediatrics. Working in emergency, I am exposed in all of these areas. Would that suffice to fulfil the requirements?

Can you give me any general advice about the process of working in these states and mainly if I even have a chance of getting a job over there?

Ask a Travel Nurse Answer:

The answer to your question depends on many, many variables. First, since you posed this question on a site about travel nursing, can I assume that you are seeking a travel position rather than a permanent position? If so, the first thing that I note is that you do not yet have enough experience that any agency I know of would even look at you yet. Most every agency I have worked for, or read about, requires at least a full year of experience in the specialty in which you wish to travel. So it would be at least March until you would be considered.

Second, you present a big challenge to many agencies in that they will not be familiar with the requirements that you will need to meet being a non US citizen. For most agencies, you would first need to secure everything you would need to work in the US. You might opt to go through a specific agency that assists you with this process, but I imagine you would then be held to their pay rates and benefits. If you prefer this route, O’Grady Peyton is a well know agency that can assist you with this. Even if you do not choose this route, you should still check out their site to gather an idea of what is involved.

From what little I have read, you will need to sit for some type of NCLEX exam (the exam that all US nurses take to obtain an RN license). You will also need to check into obtaining a visa for working in the US. All of this can be researched on the web and then pursued by phone. You can also check out nursing forums to assist you with this process as the most valuable resources will be those that have already walked in the steps you wish to take. A simple Internet search led me to a six page response on Australian nurses coming to the US.

As for you needing experience in each area you mentioned, if this is indeed a requirement, then I would very much doubt that your ER experiences would count toward this. There is simply no way to quantify the amount of time, or experience, you have within each of these areas simply by coming into contact with patients in the ER.

This should give you a place to start your research and direction for your quest. The rest will need to be time spent on your part corresponding with the different resources based on the route you choose (going through an agency such as O’Grady Peyton vs independent credentialing and then working with a US agency).

I hope this helps.

About the Author:

Hello everyone. I’m a travel nurse originally from Ohio who graduated in 1993 from Mount Carmel School of Nursing in Columbus. I completed a critical care fellowship at Riverside Methodist Hospital in 1994 and started traveling in that specialty a year later. My first travel assignment was in Maui and since that time I have completed close to 40 different contracts in various states with multiple travel companies. I am the author of Travel Nurse’s Bible (A Guide to Everything on Travel Nursing), in addition to my writings here and in the pages of Travel Nursing publications such as Healthcare Traveler Magazine and American Nurse Today. I am presently on assignment in Phoenix, AZ and travel anywhere from six to eleven months of the year.

1 Comment on "Ask a Travel Nurse: How do Australian nurses start travel nursing in United States?"

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  1. Sarah RN says:

    I think that was a great response to her question. I work with a guy who is from the Philippines and he is a RN there but is currently working as a CNA here in the US until he passes his NCLEX. Once he passes he will be able to work as a RN. It sounds like a lot of work to me but if you are willing to do it go for it!

    Sarah RN

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