Nursing across the world


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Nurses are often the first contact people have with healthcare, and their initial assessment and care are essential. They are part of their local community, understanding the inhabitant’s culture and needs. They can shape and direct appropriate interventions for individuals, families and communities.

Because there is a global shortage of nurses, there are many possibilities for working abroad. Nurses educated in the US are highly regarded and viewed favorably for employment. Nursing staff with advanced degrees have the experience and qualifications to work as healthcare leaders and improve health outcomes wherever they work. They can use their clinical expertise abroad while experiencing life in another country. 

There can be differences in nursing in the US compared to other countries. Variability in healthcare systems and cultural, social and political climates influence the nature of the nursing role, and training and qualifications can vary widely.

Nurses who wish to progress their careers and earn the highest-level qualification in clinical nursing practice can enroll in Walsh University’s Doctor of Nursing program. This will suit MSN-prepared nurses who want to develop their advanced nursing practice and become nurse leaders.  Students pursuing the online DNP FNP will develop competencies in critical areas such as evidence-based problem solving, health care policy and quality improvement. Earning advanced qualifications can lead to developing specialties and becoming nurse leaders. Highly qualified nurses are sought after by employers for the contribution they can make to patient care both in their home country and abroad.

The Doctor of Nursing Practice program

The DNP is the highest academic degree awarded in the field of nursing. This prestigious degree comes with many professional advantages, including increased earning potential. With a DNP, nurses can become an APRN (advanced practice registered nurse) and apply for more complex or advanced jobs such as family nurse practitioner. Nurses with DNPs are sought after by employers and have many opportunities to work overseas. With their nursing expertise, they are considered influential figures in healthcare.

The DNP program includes clinical experience and classroom instruction, allowing nurses to enhance their knowledge and skills and provide high-quality practice. Students will study advanced care, nursing theories, quality improvement methods and evidence-based practice. DNPs play an essential role in healthcare through direct patient care, organizational leadership and health policy implementation. This degree opens doors to clinical decision-making, expanded responsibility and research opportunities.

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It can be beneficial for nurses to get some experience as a registered nurse before applying to do a DNP. Most nurses complete a master’s before getting their DNP, but other options exist. There are part-time and full-time programs, and there may be a prerequisite requirement. Studying at this level takes dedication and commitment but can be worthwhile with the rewards of better job opportunities and a fulfilling career. Nurses looking to pursue a DNP should consider whether they want to specialize in a specific role such as nurse educator or family nurse practitioner.

Online study can be well-suited for those working full-time but who want to further their education. Advances in technology mean that online degrees are well-designed and teaching methods are effective. Lectures are recorded, which means studying can fit in with other demands. Although students do not meet face to face, there is generally plenty of virtual communication, allowing students to support each other.

Working abroad

There is widespread demand for nurses in developed and developing countries. With many well-established nursing schools in the US, there is a great need for these trained nurses to provide healthcare elsewhere. There are critical nurse shortages globally, with growing community health needs and decreasing numbers of nurses. Nurses can use their skills and expertise worldwide to provide vital patient care. Examples of work they can do include working with infectious diseases like COVID-19, human trafficking, and maternal and newborn health problems.

American nurses can decide to work in countries where English is the first language. However, other countries may also use English as the official language in healthcare organizations. Some hospitals in the Middle East require staff to speak English and documentation to be completed in English. If working in a country without English speakers, it is helpful to learn some basic language of the country for interacting with patients and colleagues.

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Nurses and other healthcare professionals can be scouted by healthcare recruiters on behalf of employers. These recruiters advertise in nursing journals and on the internet. Recruiters can give advice on banking, housing and other relevant issues related to working abroad. You can also answer advertisements and approach employers directly if you are a nurse seeking to practice overseas.

Nurses will need a work visa for the country they want to work in. Typically, visas are obtained for nurses by the employing organization. Nurses must also provide proof of licensure to practice their profession. With countries with a licensing body for registering nurses, it is best to contact the country’s registration authority to find out the requirements to work as a nurse there. This process can take weeks or months depending on the licensing board. If dealing with a country without a nurse registration system, they will require proof of your licensure from the US.

Working abroad

It is important to be prepared for differences in the healthcare system of the new country in which you will be practicing as an overseas nurse. Some countries you may find yourself working in include the following:

Australia: There is a mix of public and private healthcare in Australia. Some general practitioner appointments are paid for, but most public healthcare is free. There are advanced facilities and a modern working environment. There is a great need for nurses and an active recruitment drive throughout the country. Highly qualified nurses are in particular demand. Your workplace setting can range from cities to the rural outback. Hundreds of expatriate nurses arrive each year to Australia. These nurses are offered professional development with the chance to pursue more qualifications or specialize. Salaries are very competitive, but there will be a high tax levy, especially for higher earners.

China: This country is becoming a popular place to work for nurses. As prosperity has grown in China, there has been significant investment in medical services. There has been rapid growth in facilities, but there is a shortage of qualified healthcare staff. The healthcare system is mainly public, with some private health. It is essential to speak Chinese unless you are in Guangdong or Hong Kong or working in an international facility where the working language is English. China has a population of 1.35 billion people and a culture that is thousands of years old. It is currently the second-largest economy in the world. Living and working in China is an opportunity to experience the country’s rich history and food as well as a comfortable lifestyle.

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United Arab Emirates: Nurses are in great demand in this nation. However, the pay is below that of other Middle Eastern countries. There are no taxes on income, and there is universal healthcare. Nursing jobs come with benefits such as insurance, housing allowance and travel expenses. Nurses are typically expected to sign contracts for one year. Hospitals must supply accommodation for nurses and give them a small allowance. You will need an employment visa to work here as a nurse, and immigration clearance can take at least three months to complete. Some hospitals will only employ male or female staff for certain positions.

Norway: This country has a public health system, so the government meets basic healthcare needs and emergency care. Norway needs more nurses partly because the population is getting larger and older. Nurses are well paid and given free accommodation and travel to visit home. Nurses need to speak Norwegian to work in the healthcare system. To prove proficiency, nurses can take a test in Norwegian or study at a local university and pass an exam. If proficiency is proved before a job application, this will be advantageous.


Nurses are a valuable part of healthcare all over the world. They use their knowledge and expertise to give their patients quality care. The shortage of nurses worldwide means that many countries employ foreign nurses to work in their healthcare system. Nurses can travel the world, continue their nursing work and experience different cultures and lifestyles. Nurses with advanced qualifications are in demand by healthcare employers and can use their leadership and specialist skills to improve patient care in whichever country they work.