On a recent trip to Scotland I became immersed in the culture and wondered how it would be to live and work there as a nurse. The United Kingdom, unlike the United States, has socialized medicine. Governed by the National Health Service, citizens of the U.K. can receive health care at little to no charge depending on what services are provided. I became curious as to what life would be like for a nurse who works in a country with socialized medicine.
Would it be that much different for a nurse who lives in the U.S.?
I debated back and forth with myself about listing international travel nursing as a potential alternative career for nurses tired of traditional bedside nursing. After all, it still requires working at the bedside. Although I do not provide information about traditional travel nursing, I believe international travel nursing would be a completely different experience.
International travel nursing would allow nurses to experience different healthcare systems in other parts of the world. Nurses who decide to travel abroad will be immersed in a completely different culture and way of life.
There may be language barriers, so traveling to a country in which you speak the language is imperative. Aside from learning how another country manages their healthcare system, you will be able to explore on your downtime. You will be able to sightsee and learn how to live like the locals do.
Nurses who want to pursue this type of career need to understand it is not like the typical travel nursing job where you change locations every few months. Most international contracts are for a year or more.
There is also a considerable amount of planning and paperwork needed to obtain everything needed to work in a foreign country.
As a U.S. based nurse, you will need a work visa to work in a foreign country. Some countries also require a set of equivalency tests before an individual is able to work as a nurse. Completing this paperwork and getting approval from the foreign country can take months, so plan accordingly.
Salaries for international travel nurses vary depending on the location traveled. Don’t expect to get paid as much as a nurse in the U.S., because the cost of living in other countries may be lower. You also have to factor in the equivalency of the U.S. dollar to the currency in that country.
More information on international travel nursing can be found at international travel agency sites. Some of these sites will assist nurses with the required paperwork for working in a foreign country.
Is anyone interested in international travel nursing? Has anyone ever worked outside of the U.S. as a nurse?