Nurses often travel, do missionary work, or even change states (or even countries) throughout their careers. One of the questions we often receive on this website is related to moving and how it may affect licensing.
As we’ve written many times on this blog, moving between states (at least, within the United States) is often easier. Many states have a compact license agreement which allows for nurses to have their licenses recognized by fellow compact states. If the state is not recognized as a compact state, then you would generally have to seek out the licensing requirements for the new state. This may include re-taking the NCLEX for that state, or following additional requirments.
But what about countries? Could you practice in the United States if you have no experience? What about licensing, NCLEX, and other issues? We received the following question:
Thanks for the great job you guys are doing. I stumbled on this site while trying to make some research about Nursing in the states. I am an international student in my first year in a UK university studying BSN. I just wanna know the possibility of practicing my profession in the states without any prior experience after school.
Can You Get Hired As a Nurse In the US With No Experience From the UK?
If you live in the United Kingdom (UK), and you plan on moving to the United States after school, you can definitely get hired with no experience. I had no additional work experience within nursing (aside from nursing school clinicals and a little volunteer work), and I was able to get hired directly out of school. Also, there are many people who have transfered from different countries (India, Phillipines, etc.) and they are employed at my hospital.
That doesn’t guarantee you a job, but employers do often hire new nurse graduates with no other experience besides school. Many of my friends were also able to get hired directly out of school with no experience. So yes, this happens all the time.
Having said that, there are a couple of benefits of going to school and getting a job within the same area, namely, connections and you will naturally meet local requirements. I was able to meet some really nice people and establish some contact at my present employer from my nursing school clinicals, and of course, I had no problems with ensuring I was properly licensed.
Also, you should be aware that you may have some issues you need to consider:
- Are you moving here from the UK permanently or just working for a short period of time?
- If permanent, you will have to apply for citizenship in the U.S. If temporary, you may have to get a work permit or other paperwork to legally do so.
- For your license to be active, you may have to follow additional requirements (depending on the state). This means you may have to take and pass the NCLEX test, and if your UK schooling does not meet the state’s requirements for education, you may have to take additional classes or clinical work before you can even take the NCLEX.
- There are some international NCLEX testing, and you may want to look into those to see if they would benefit you.
Transferring to the US from the UK as a Nurse
So as you can see, it can be done (and has been done). You can become a nurse in the United States when transferring from the U.K. However, there are some things you must go through to make it happen. You didn’t mention whether this will be a short-term work or if you plan to live here indefinitely.
If you plan on living in the United States indefinitely, then you may want to consider moving here right away. This way, you could finish your schooling here and you would know you would be eligible. If this is not a viable option for you, then you can always move after you finish school too.
In any event, I wish you the best of luck in your nursing career!