Current government policy issue

THE PRESENT US POLICY ON FOREIGN BORN NURSES

According to Aiken LH, Buchan J, Sochalski J, Nichols B, Powell M “The policy consequences of decisions about international nurse recruitment are surprisingly large. While the number of foreign nurses as a percent of the workforce in the United States is only 4% or 90,000 nurses, that number represents 90,000 nurses. If the US policies doubled the numbers of international nurses recruited -- as some other countries have done -- this would represent some 100,000 additional nurses that would come from other countries with limited numbers of nurses. This number of nurses would not close the projected US shortfall of nurses.”

Most of the United States citizens prefer to take up college courses like Lawyer, Accountant, Engineer, Doctor and the like. Most of the United States citizens do not prefer the hard work and the grave yard shift of the hospital industry.  This could be due to the malpractice suits we read in the newspapers, radio and the television. Some United States nurses dislike the treatment of a  few hospital doctors. Other United States nurses feel  overworked in relation to their monthly take home pay. Some factors that affect the decision of most  United States citizen to shy away from the nursing profession is the greater likelihood of contracting communicable diseases like tuberculosis, bird flu  among others. There are also other diseases like HIV / Acquired Immunity Deficiency Syndrome and the like which greatly affects the decision making of United States citizens not to enter the hospital service business and nurses.  The same reference above further states that nurses born outside the United States account for a third of the increase in employed nurses nationally. According to Associated Press Eastern Time Dec 10, 2004, in Los Angeles, the government is planning to stop a shortcut that has allowed thousands of foreign nurses from entering using fast track United States work permits. This new policy could worsen the present nursing shortage when it takes effect in the year January of 2005. The present policy allows the foreign nurses to get a working visa in United States  hospitals within an average  of sixty days. The new policy will make the minimum working visa processing  extended to the  three years period. The new policy that will eventually affect doctors and technical workers is the result of the September 11 attack on the twin towers of New York and the White House. The longer waiting time for the foreign nurses will help the United States immigration department to scrutinize the application papers of these foreigners.

Another immigration relating to nurses due to the big demand is H-1C Nurse Law FAQ

According to the Law Offices of Carl Shusterman.

It is called the Nursing Relief for the disadvantage Areas Act. The law creates a temporary (H-IC”) visa for foreign born registered nurses to allow them  to work up to three years in  some hospitals that badly need them. They will serve the places called professional shortage areas  (HPSAs). This visa program  will expire in four years and limits the number of visas issued to five hundred per year.  The hospital facilities entitled to request for foreign born nurses  are  hospitals only. The following are not allowed to hire under this project : (a) Clinics (b) Home health care agencies (c) skilled nursing facilities.

Although the intention of new policy is for the safety of the United States is a good and timely act, the policy affects the health and the services given by foreign

ADVANTAGES OF US POLICY ON NURSES

The advantages of the  present US policy limiting the number of foreign workers has the following advantages: (1)  Only a selected few are admitted to the US workforce. Only those who pass the CGFNS and NCLEX and the Test of English as a foreign language plus  they must  have the necessary job experiences and educational requirements are most likely to be admitted to the United States.  (2) The job opportunities of the United  States nursing workforce is not as much threatened.  Only 4% of the total present  nursing workforce is dominated by foreign nurses.  There is a strong feeling among the a group of United States nurses that there is really no need to hire foreign nurses.  (3) Extending the time required to process a nurse working visa from six months to three years will make it similar to the time requirement of three years in other fields of study like engineers, doctors, among others.

DISADVANTAGES OF US POLICY ON FOREIGN BORN NURSES

The present US policy limiting the number of foreign workers has the following disadvantages: (1) Many United States hospitals are undermanned. Many rural hospitals have a nursing demand far greater than the urban centers.  This is due to the fact that the rural center United States nurses prefer to work in the urban centers. The pay scale in the urban centers are higher as compared to the rural destinations. (2) The nursing staff requirements of countries exporting nurses to the United States have largely been depleted.  Only the few  dedicated and nationalistic nurses prefer to serve their nation and shy away from the US dollars that could lift them up from poverty stay away from the United States or London. (3) The moving of the time requirement to process the nursing working visa from six months to three years will not presently help the looming nursing shortage in the United States.

CONCLUSION

The present United States  policy should be changed. The  present cap  on the number of foreign nurses entering the United States should be increased by twice the amount of present quota assigned to each of the nurse exporting countries to the United States. But the new policy, increasing the quota for foreign nurses assigned to each foreign English speaking country,  should give priority to assignment to  rural hospitals and clinics. This will cater to the lack of nursing requirements in the affected areas.  A nurse importation cap will help the foreign nurses’ home country to retain some of the qualified nurses in their  original countries. The new policy to be implemented in January of 2005 that makes the minimum time to process a nursing working visa  three years will be an advantage to the United States nursing graduates. The United States nurses will have higher chances of being hired. The time extension will also increase the nursing hospital experiences in the home country of the foreign nurses. U S hospitals will have a longer time to wait for the arrival of the much needed hospital staff.

REFERENCES:

http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/478170_2

http://msnbc.msn.com/id/6693359/

http://www.shusterman.com/h1cfaq.html

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