Updated: May 26
I've been meaning to do this post for weeks now. I have to confess that I am easily carried away. The Nurses' Week just blew me to a different direction. But here we are now.
No Place Like Home
So now your mind is made up. You want to work abroad. What other things do you need to consider before you start the immigration process?
Several countries having nursing opportunities, both within and without Africa. This, I consider to be the second major choice to make. Each country has its benefits and drawbacks but have it at the back of your mind that you will never find a place like home. For many of us, money is the principal motivating factor. However, you need to think of other key things like welfare and socialization.
As an example, while nurses in the US are paid almost double of what nurses in the UK are paid, nurses in the UK have approximately six weeks of paid leave and will enjoy free healthcare.
To work as a overseas nurse in Canada, you must go to college for one year. Similarly in Australia, you must do a bridging program for up to 18 months.
There are also differences in the cost and duration of the immigration process. If your resources are limited and you are impatient then UK is the place for you. If you are patient enough then consider US. And for Australia and Canada, you need some dough in your pocket.
All I'm trying to say is that there are a host of variances. As such, take your time to understand your preferences. Get on the ground and do some research. Fortunately, information is readily available online with several nurses like myself willing to share our experiences.
Deciding on UK
Suppose you settle on the UK, you must further decide which sector you want to work in. The options are NHS, Private Hospitals and Care Homes. Again, each has its own merits and setbacks. Nurses working in Private Hospitals and Care Homes enjoy better pay.
In the NHS you will get clinical experience. You will learn the fundamentals of the UK healthcare system and the nitty-gritties of nursing care such as communication. To me, a nurse with little experience should consider starting with the NHS.
It is imperative to make this decisions before you leave the country because depending with your contract, you will be tied to that employer for the first few years.
I cannot end without emphasizing that you must do some research on welfare. If you have children, this is especially important because you will need to plan for them. Unlike home, most governments in developed countries will get into you business. They will want to know what your children had for breakfast. Whether they go to school. And who stays with them when you are away. With minimum wage in place, you will pay through the nose for domestic work. Think of this, particularly if your children are young.
After all is said and done, gather information and pack your bags. This is an adventurous journey but there are potholes all over the highway. Study your route carefully and maybe you can avoid some of them.