10 Questions to Ask When Choosing an International Nurse Agency

Even before the onset of the pandemic, nurses were in short supply. Now a more pronounced shortage threatens the health and wellbeing of the global population. That dire news, however, provides unprecedented opportunities for experienced nurses to choose how and where they work. If your personal calling as a nurse is calling you to explore the US, there may never be a better time to make the move. But the process of getting from where you are to where you want to be can be an arduous one. You can go it alone or enlist the services of an international nurse agency for a smoother transition to your ex-pat nursing career. The experience, knowledge, and connections that an agency provides can prove invaluable, but be sure to ask the right questions:

    1. Why Do You Do What You Do?
      The agency you hire should be experts at what they do and advocate whom they serve. Find out all you can about the agency. Who is its founder? What motivates them? And are the people who work at the agency—and who will be working for you—as passionate about their jobs as you are about yours?
    2. What Experience Do You Have Placing Nurses in the U.S.?
      Look for an agency with a record of helping nurses to successfully secure positions and build careers in the U.S. Ask about its affiliation with healthcare facilities, its understanding of the staffing landscape, and its long-term track record. Can they provide testimonials from nurses placed in the U.S., and what will those stories tell?
    3. Do You Have Existing Partnerships with U.S. Healthcare Facilities?
      Partnerships ensure that your efforts to hone your nursing skills, improve your credentials, and polish your resume, will result in meaningful employment. When a nursing agency has established relationships with healthcare facilities, it can better place you and offer more accurate insight into what you can expect from your new position.
    4. What Type of Contract and Fee Structure Do You Use?
      You will sign a contract with your agency. Under most agreements, once hired, you commit to working for the same agency (if contract hire) or facility (if direct hire) for a specific length of time, often between two and three years. The costs to you will vary depending on the agency you hire, but you can expect to pay some licensure-related fees in most cases. Determine in advance who is responsible for immigration filing fees and short-term housing costs. Regarding your contract, your top priority should be transparency. The agency you hire should answer any questions you have and provide ample time to review the terms and conditions you’ll be expected to agree to.
    5. What Employment Model Do You Use?
      Some agencies hire nursing staff outright and supply workers to U.S. healthcare facilities as contract labor. In this instance, you are the employee of the agency. More often, a nurse placement agency uses a direct-hire model. In this case, the agency recruits nurses and manages the process, but the facility is the legal immigration sponsor and employer.
    6. How Long Does a Typical Nurse Placement Take?
      Although your experience will vary depending on what you bring to the engagement, the timeline for the entire process is typically from 12 to 14 months. If you have already passed your NCLEX-RN exam, you can expect an abbreviated timeframe of between 7 to 9 months, depending on your country of residency.
    7. How Do You Support Nurses Throughout the Hiring Process?
      You contract with an international nurse agency because it’s extremely difficult to do it all on your own. Whichever agency you select should support you fully throughout the process. They should be with you every step of your journey, from ensuring that you have the proper credentials to helping you settle into a new community thousands of miles from your home. Make sure they can assist you with:

      • NCLEX test prep and RN licensure
      • Job evaluation and selection
      • Green Card sponsorship
      • VisaScreen certification
      • Clinical and cultural transition preparation
      • Relocation assistance
      • Living accommodations
      • Sociocultural acclimation and adjustment
      • Transition to clinical practice in the U.S.
      • Employment and career support
      • Continuing education
    8. What Kind of Salaries Are You Able to Secure for Your Nurses?
      The U.S. is 40 times the size of the U.K. Because it is so vast and diverse, where you choose to live and work will determine your earnings. Large hospitals in big cities tend to offer higher pay, but the cost of living is also high. However, the U.S. is ranked number one in the world for the monthly salaries it pays nurses, and nurses throughout the country can fare well financially. And there is great demand for nurses. COVID-19 has caused nearly two-thirds of critical care nurses to consider leaving the profession. Even before the pandemic, older nurses were headed for retirement, not enough new nurses were taking their place, and a critical nursing shortage was predicted. While an agency can’t predict the future, experts in healthcare and economics agree that nurses in the U.S. can expect solid prospects through 2030.
    9. What Percentage of Your Nurses Stay on After a Contract Ends?Understanding the success of nurses who came before you can help you understand the success rate of the agency. If most of the nurses they place find fulfilling careers in the U.S., it bodes well for you.
    10. Are you Affiliated with the Alliance for Ethical International Recruitment Practice?The Alliance for Ethical International Recruitment Practice is a nonprofit organization that ensures internationally educated and recruited healthcare professionals are treated in a fair, ethical, and transparent manner for employment in the U.S. Certified ethical recruiters adhere to a strict code of conduct that protects you and the healthcare facilities where you might be placed.


Are you ready to bring your nursing skills to another country? Global Nurse Partners is an international nurse placement agency specializing in U.S. placements. We provide high-touch service that makes your transition to a new career in a new country as seamless and successful as possible. Ready to learn more? Take the first step to the future you deserve. Schedule a consultation today.