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Long-Term Care Facilities: Everything You Wanted To Know About Recruiting Foreign Nurses (But Were Afraid To Ask)

A 2019 report from the American Association of Directors of Nursing Services (AADNS) found that approximately 75 percent of nursing directors in long-term care cited staffing shortages as their top challenge. 

As a result, LTC providers are expanding their search internationally to secure the right talent. In fact, the number of international healthcare workers in the US is projected to continue rising, with 3 million immigrants already accounting for 1 in 4 workers in the field, according to Harvard Medical School.

In this blog post, the Conexus team addresses some of the top questions and concerns that US LTC employers have when it comes to recruiting international nurses.  

How do we know a nurse’s English is going to be good enough to communicate effectively with patients and staff? 

To be licensed to work in the US, nurses MUST have proficient English skills. After meeting the initial education requirements, some foreign-educated nurses must take and pass the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), the Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) (depending on their country of origin). Results from these tests are sent directly to the state nursing board, so you can rest assured that the English language skills of foreign nurses you recruit will be up to scratch! 

Will a foreign nurse understand US medications, values, measurement systems, and patient handling? 

A lot of this knowledge will be covered in a nurse’s education and preparation for the NCLEX-RN exam. However, it’s the responsibility of the nurse to explore further education opportunities and gather information about the US workplace. 

That’s why it’s a good idea to find a specialist staffing partner that’s committed to adequately preparing nurses for the US workplace. Conexus is dedicated to the ongoing education of all of our nurses. Before and during their assignment, nurses are supported by their own dedicated Clinical Nurse Educator. Our bespoke Practicing in the US training and education program, followed by our transition to practice program, US Ready, was designed to ensure all of our nurses are ready for life and work in the US. Plus, all Conexus nurses have free and unlimited access to our online training portal and CINAHL continuous learning database worth $5,000. 

The staff at our facility are stretched. What if we can’t provide an international nurse with the support they need? 

This a common concern for LTC facilities and a lack of support can negatively impact staff retention. It’s true that if you’re planning to introduce foreign nurses onto your team, you need to ensure they receive adequate support, particularly if they’re new to the US. Once again, you should pay close attention to your staffing agency and how hands-on they are in supporting their nurses. 

For example, Conexus has a robust support network in place for all of our nurses, with dedicated Operation Managers visiting each community to provide both professional and social support. We also organize regular get-togethers to welcome new nurses and their families, so they can connect with other nurses and quality spend time with their local Conexus team. 

Is our facility big enough to work with a staffing agency? 

We guarantee it’ll be big enough to work with Conexus! To put things into perspective, we partner with a broad range of LTC facilities and place an average of 2-5 nurses into each location. We also have the capacity to support multiple sites spread across a state or the wider country. 


Find Out More 

Download our guide ‘Hiring the Right Nurses for your Long-Term Care Facility’ to get more information about recruiting international nurses and find out how Conexus can help with the process.

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