Foreign Nurses in the United States Hospitals
The recruitment of a controversial issue in the United States hospitals. The current rise in numbers of patient and a decline in the number of qualified professional nurses in the United States have created a necessity to hire nurses from foreign countries. In addition, lack of trained personnel in has also created the 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 establish an immediate short-term intervention measure of recruiting foreign nurses to resolve the issue before it gets out of control (Ellis & Hartley, 2004). The U.S. government and private hospitals have taken steps to address the shortage. This was achieved by recruiting foreign nurses irrespective of their country of origin for as long as the nurses meet 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 the recruitment agency or firm (Brown & Brown, 2011). The terms and duration of service must be put into consideration. In most cases, companies hire foreign educated nurses for the duration of two to three years. They are hired on a contract that can be renewed upon expiry (Hammaker & Tomlinson, 2011).
History of Recruitment of Foreign Nurses in the U.S
The policy on 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 among many other countries in the world. The recruitment of foreign nurses has been prevalent since the number of patients in the US hospitals has been escalating persistently over the years (Hammaker & Tomlinson, 2011). In the year 1995, approximately ten thousand nurses from foreign countries received licenses as registered nurses in the United States. In the year 1990, the number of firms that brought foreign educated nurses was high due to the high demand of nurses. By the year 2007, the United States was experiencing a shortage of nurses. On the other hand, the mortality rate in the U.S. hospitals during this period was on the rise. The federal government processed of Visa to foreign nurses so as to offer a temporary respite. During this period, numerous nurses from Philippine were hired, and this led to an increase in the number of Filipino nurse immigrants in the US (Feldman & Alexander, 2012).
This situation made almost every U.S. hospital have at least one Filipino nurse. The reduction of availability of Visa supply by the United State government has currently led to shortage of nurses in the U.S. hospitals. However, in the year 2008, there was a reduction of visa supply to foreign nurses. This was as a result of economic recession that was being experienced in 2008. During this period, employees in various companies were retrenched since a majority of the companies could not maintain them due to the escalating cost of living. Many hospitals in the United States and United Kingdom prefer hiring nurses from foreign countries. This is 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 99,187. This figure has been rising persistently over the years. However, despite the above increase in number of newly licensed nurses, the United States has continued to experience a shortage of nurses. Therefore, the need to continue hiring foreign nurses remains to be a viable solution (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 beneficial to all stakeholders. It has been reported that hospitals that hire foreign nurses do not have to incur the average agency recruitment cost. The cost is approximated to be five thousand to ten thousand dollars. This is the cost that the hospitals could have incurred as a result of hiring local nurses. This means that hospitals can make a cost reduction in the long run by adopting the strategy of recruiting foreign nurses (Feldman & Alexander, 2012). Recruitment of foreign nurses has enabled the economy of United States to grow significantly. This is because a majority of foreign nurses can provide high quality health services to patients. Additionally, hiring of foreign nurses has helped the United States government and other importing countries to reduce mortality rates of their people in a significant way (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 nurses have helped to fill numerous vacant positions within the American health system thereby in the country. On the other hand, foreign nurses can meet their life expenses and support their families in their home countries. The economy of the exporting country also benefits from this arrangement. This is because these countries receive remittances from the nurses thereby boosting their foreign gross income. This income has contributed positively towards the economic growth of the exporting countries (Kelly, 2012).
Despite the positive aspects associated with foreign nursing recruitment, there are some disadvantages that can be identified. The exporting countries face the problem of brain drain. This normally occurs when the exporting countries spend substantial resources to train their people as nurses only for them to look elsewhere for employment (Moore & Simendinger, 1989). The nurses do not give back to their countries by working in their respective countries as they go to work in foreign countries. These nurses use the knowledge and skills they have acquired in the home countries to benefit the patients of other countries. Statistics indicate that the exporting countries incur economic loss in this process. For instance, in 1998, about $184,000 dollars to the United States following the migration of nurses to the US. 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 by those nurses. Additionally, the recruitment of foreign nurses in United States has led to the emergence of controversies between the local and foreign nurses. This is because the domestic nurses assert that foreign nurses have overcrowded the United States labor market and compromised the salaries (Hammaker & Tomlinson, 2011).