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Foreign nurses

Monday March 10, 2014
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Regarding the Dec. 29 online article "Foreign nurses face potentially discriminatory practices" (www.Nurse.com/Article/Foreign-Nurses), there is a lot of information that is not in this article.

Are all of the foreign educated nurses whose responses were included in the study actually professionally employed as nurses? Are some of them employed, but not as nurses, while the employer is providing classes in language skills and nursing for them to take the state boards? What other benefits or compensations have they received — housing, training, fees, transportation? Are they working the so-called less desirable shift or unit because they want to do whatever they think they need to do to keep the employer happy? Does their cultural background have an influence on what they perceive as a good work position or compensation?

Perhaps the employer puts them in less demanding positions, because for some, all things considered, that is the better position for them to be in, for their well-being and that of the patients. How many of these nurses are truly fluent in speaking, listening, reading and writing English? Full communication in English is crucial in this field. Can they read and understand the PDR, medical records, journals, professional level disease and treatment information?

The expectations of this country's healthcare workers are different from those in other countries on the basis of customer satisfaction, legalities and management cultures. But what is perceived as prejudice in some cases may be something totally different.

Not to say that there are not folks out there who are prejudiced, in the U.S. as well as all over the world. Even those of us who are from this country deal with prejudices on the job, perhaps different ones. But we can work together and make it a win-win situation for all. As the research progresses and the picture develops, lets make that our goal and focus.

— Dana Perez, RN, MSN
Tulsa, Okla.