More Indian nurses getting hired by US hospitals
by Khalid Hasan
WASHINGTON : While the immigration bill now before the US Senate, if carried unamended, will remove the present limit on recruiting nurses from other countries, the American Nurses Association is opposing the provision, saying a flood of nurse immigrants would damage the domestic work force as well as the immigrants’ home countries.
The Association is of the view that Congress should invest in domestic nursing programmes rather than invite other countries to solve the American nursing shortage. Most foreign nurses in this country are from the Philippines. However, an increasing number is coming from India. Given the shortage of American nurses, the St Vincent Regional Medical Centre in New Mexico has decided to look for nurses in India. Two hospital workers travelled to India this month to recruit eight nurses. “The technology in India in nursing is very similar to ours,” Barbara Roe, the hospital’s vice president of human resources, told a New Mexico newspaper. “Nurses from India tend to be the best-trained and tend to stay longer.”
The immigrant nurses all have the equivalent to a US bachelor’s degree in nursing. By the time they begin work this summer, they will meet the state’s licensing requirements and will have completed an “accent-reduction” course to help them communicate better with their American patients. “They basically come ready to work,” Roe said.
International nurse recruiting is a brisk business in the United States, and it could increase even more if the proposal in the Senate to remove the limit on the number of nurses who can immigrate to the United States becomes law.
According to a report in the New York Times last week, the Philippines and India send more nurses to the United States than any other countries. The New Mexico hospital decided to send recruiters to India after it received good reports from other hospitals that have hired Indian nurses. Hiring immigrant nurses is as expensive as recruiting American nurses through a permanent-placement agency, Roe said. The eight Indian nurses will earn the same amount of money as their American counterparts : $46,000 a year with no extra compensation or bonuses.
It is not known if the Pakistan government is planning to assist Pakistani-trained nurses to seek employment in America.