International nursing is a tricky subject to cover, especially considering that options vary based on where you’re originally licensed as a nurse, and so forth. It also comes with its unique set of challenges as pay and skill level can vary greatly between countries. For purposes of this post, I’m going to focus on how United States licensed registered nurses (RN’s) can pursue international nursing – whether that is by volunteering or by getting a paid nursing job.
Different Ways to Pursue International Nursing
Working in the Middle East
Out of all of the options listed in this post, working in the Middle East is by far the most lucrative way to earn a living as a nurse. The pay is great, and you’re generally treated well with housing paid for, and great health insurance. You might think that the Middle East seems like a daunting place to be a nurse, but I urge you to expand your horizons and see what it’s all about!
If you want to pursue nursing in the Middle East (like me!), you’ll definitely want to reach out to Helen Ziegler, a Canadian based company specializing in nursing throughout Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
If you want to know more about working with Helen Ziegler, read: Getting a Nursing Job in Saudi Arabia With Helen Ziegler
Working in Australia and New Zealand
If you’re interested in working down under, then the good news is that Australia and New Zealand both higher American trained nurses, and the nursing work is relatively similar to that in the United States. Plus the pay is decent and the best part is that you’re allowed to work as many or as few shifts as you want each week.
To pursue nursing down under, reach out to HCA Healthcare Australia.
Working in the UK
Because the UK (composed of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales) is English speaking, there are a lot of opportunities for United States nurses to travel to the UK for a nursing job. While there are a lot of upsides to working in the UK – opportunity to live in a different country, cheaply travel to the rest of Europe, etc; the downside of working in the UK is that the role of nurses is different compared to the US, and the pay is significantly lower than in the US. Below you’ll find a couple of companies to work with if you want to explore nursing in the UK. By the way, read this post that my friend Melissa wrote; she details her experience as an American nurse working in London!
If you do end up moving to the UK for a job, don’t miss my posts on the best things to see and do in the region!
Working for the United States Army
Working as a nurse for the United States Army/Military/etc could work out one of two ways. First, you could work alongside the Army/Military/etc by being a flight nurse or a nurse on the field; or you could work on a base abroad. Because you’ll be working for the United States, you’ll be paid in US dollars, be considered a government employee – which comes with perks – and the expectations for the nursing role are similar to that in the US.
To find opportunities on working for the United States Army, check out this website.
If you’re having difficulty finding a job abroad, or you would rather try out volunteering – whether that’s short-term or long-term – then put the brakes on finding a job abroad and instead pursue volunteering abroad! There seems to be so many more opportunities with volunteer nursing whether you want to spend 1-2 weeks on an island, 1-2 months in Europe, or even a year+ in Africa and other destinations; the opportunities with volunteering are endless.
To get you started, I’ve created a list of popular and trusted volunteer options. As always, do your own research ahead of time to figure out what fits you best, as each of these will have different requirements and availability.
Read about my experience volunteering with Project Hope: Working As a Volunteer Nurse – My Experience in North Macedonia
If you’re craving to travel, but unsure if moving abroad is for you, I suggest dipping your toes into travel nursing first to see how you like it! You can pick an assignment as close to home (as long as you’re following tax law) or pick an assignment as far away as possible to get the feel of being on your own and completely out of your comfort zone. There are even some travel nursing companies that staff in Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands so it can feel like you’re really traveling abroad.
For more information on travel nursing, don’t miss:
I’m curious if you’ve ever worked as a nurse abroad? If so, leave a comment and tell me all about your experience!