No conflict of interest has been declared by the authors.
Nurses' Work-Life Experiences
The experiences of internationally educated nurses in the southeastern United States of America
Article first published online: 14 MAY 2013
© 2013 The Authors. International Nursing Review © 2013 International Council of Nurses
International Nursing Review
Volume 60, Issue 3, pages 397–404, September 2013
How to Cite
Wheeler, R.M., Foster, J.W. and Hepburn, K.W. (2013), The experiences of internationally educated nurses in the southeastern United States of America. International Nursing Review, 60: 397–404. doi: 10.1111/inr.12023
Funding for this research was provided by the American Nurses Foundation and Emory University's Race and Difference Initiative.
- Issue published online: 21 AUG 2013
- Article first published online: 14 MAY 2013
- American Nurses Foundation
- Emory University's Race and Difference Initiative
- Internationally Educated Nurses;
- Nursing Workforce;
- Qualitative Research;
- US Migration
US healthcare facilities have addressed nursing shortages in part by recruiting internationally educated nurses (IENs), and studies suggest IENs may make up a significant percentage of the nursing workforce in urban hospitals. Despite the economic recession of 2008–2012, international nurse migration is expected to continue. Little is known about IENs in the southeastern USA, and no studies have compared their perspectives to those of their US counterparts.
The purpose of this study was to gain a deeper understanding about the experiences of IENs compared to those of US registered nurses (RNs) practising in two urban hospitals in southeastern USA.
This study involved two rounds of semi-structured interviews of 82 IENs and US RNs. Interviews focused on themes relating to education, barriers to practice, intent to stay in nursing and IENs’ migration experiences.
Findings and Discussion
Most IENs interviewed migrated to the USA after 1990 to join their family and do not plan to return to their home countries to practise. Most IENs initially received their Associate Degree in Nursing; many have obtained their Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree. IENs and newly licensed US RNs faced similar barriers when they began practising in the USA, but IENs faced additional challenges adjusting to the attitudes of US patients, the perceived lack of respect for nurses and delivering total patient care.
IENs would benefit from orientation regarding the cultural differences in the USA. In other ways, their challenges are similar to those of US RNs; policies regarding education, recruitment and retention could target both groups together.