Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is an American immigration policy that you will undoubtedly have read about in the news and on our blog over the past two years.
When it comes to DACA nursing students, or DREAMers as they are referred to, there are still some question marks over their eligibility to become a registered nurse in the US. Here, we look at what being a DACA recipient means for today’s nursing students and what the future could hold.
How did we get to this point?
DACA was established in 2012 under the Obama administration as a way for children of undocumented immigrants to have a chance to work and attend work legally. The program laid out basic guidelines and required applications for those under DACA to renew their status every two years.
Although not a permanent solution, DACA has given more than 800,000 young people access to basic freedoms, including work permits, driver’s licenses, affordable higher education, and, in certain states, professional licenses.
On September 5, 2017, President Trump directed the Department of Homeland Security to initiate an “orderly wind-down” of DACA, which prompted concern regarding status for student nurses across the US.
Can DACA nursing students take the NCLEX exam?
DACA students are eligible to sit the NCLEX exam, depending on the state they reside. For example, the Arkansas State Board of Nursing has determined that DACA recipients will no longer be eligible to sit for the NCLEX, whereas states allowing DACA recipients to sit the exam include Oklahoma, California, Washington, and New York.
The million-dollar question: Can a DACA recipient become a registered nurse?
Many DACA recipients who choose nursing as an area of study can become a registered nurse in the USA. In fact, Conexus Medstaff has already worked with DACA candidates who have since gone on to sign their first nursing contract. Remember, the need for nurses in the US only continues to grow, so if you’re a DACA nursing student, we encourage you to seek advice on your next steps.
What is Conexus Medstaff doing to assist DACA nursing students?
Currently, the Conexus Medstaff team is speaking with universities with large pockets of DACA about how we can help to ensure their nursing career becomes a reality. Additionally, we are forming partnerships with non-profit organizations that help DACA recipients to ensure we are better placed to offer the right resources and assistance moving forward.
We have already identified several useful online communities that DACA student nurses can follow for insights and advice, including:
This website provides the latest information on DACA, as well as scholarships for undocumented students to help offset the costs associated with a college education.
As mentioned in our last blog, this is the place to go for unfiltered chat about all things DACA, with recipients sharing their experiences and offering advice.
This closed Facebook group was designed for nurses under DACA to share insights, give advice, share some rants, and support each other in a shared community. Also on Facebook, you’ll find the closed group DACA RNs & Student Nurses, which features candid conversations and helpful tips.
Conexus Medstaff sources and supports candidates looking to make their dream of working as a nurse in the US. If you’re a DACA recipient and want to find out more about the options available to you, send your details.