International travel nursing has grown in the past few years. We don’t expect the nursing shortage in the United States to end anytime soon, so traveling abroad appeals to a lot of nurses—and the fact that you get to see a different country doesn’t hurt either.
But the desire to work in a foreign country doesn’t just appeal to nurses in the United States. Foreign travel nurses want to work in the United States for the potential to make money, while nurses in the United States want to leave the US for excitement and adventure even if it means less money. Sometimes you need a change of space to clear your head, and international travel nursing may be for you, but there are factors that could stand in your way: money, processing, and a shortage of travel nursing agencies that work internationally.
You won’t make as much money as you would in the United States. Okay. There is one exception: the Middle East. But on the whole, you won’t make as much travel nursing in other countries. Currently, the United Kingdom and Australia pay approximately 27,000 to 36,000 U.S. dollars a year. So, you may want to save money and pay off bills before you go.
Plan on 6 to 8 months for processing before you can even travel. Keep in mind that you’re not only gaining your credentials to work as a nurse in another country, you have to obtain a work visa. Other countries respect a United States nursing education, but it still takes time to get all the required paperwork done.
Shortage of Agencies
Not many travel nursing agencies offer international travel nursing jobs because they don’t make a lot of money sending nurses to other countries. It always comes back to money, doesn’t it? But even fewer agencies will send a nurse to another country that speaks a foreign language. It doesn’t matter if you as the nurse can speak the language; the travel nursing agency has to be able to speak the language to set up a contract.
If you really want to work abroad, you may want to apply for licensure in the country you want to go. The licensure application causes the most headaches in most cases, and if you show up to a staffing company with your licensure in place, or at least in process, you’re more likely to be taken seriously by the agency. If you stay on top of your paperwork, you could travel the world.