Nursing career abroad: Where should you move and why?

  • nurses
Published on 2022-08-10 at 10:00 by amilprema
Nurses form an integral part of the healthcare system. However, the long hours and stressful working conditions mean that a career in nursing is only for those who truly love it. This article will look at the countries where nursing is in high demand and explore the benefits of working abroad. 

Which countries need nurses the most? 

The nursing industry has been steadily declining - statistics show a current global shortage of 5.9million nurses and 4 million nurses who are due to retire within the next 10 years. Amidst the global nursing shortage, there are many countries that are actively seeking to fill the many vacancies that have been created. Here are the main countries in need of nurses.

  • UK

The last few years have seen a huge drop in graduate intakes for courses in nursing and broader healthcare in the UK. An NHS survey showed that there are nearly 40,000 nursing vacancies across England alone. In response to this lack of demand, the UK is currently looking for overseas talent to fill in for the lack of local demand in the coming years. 

  • Australia

Australia is also undergoing a nursing shortage. The pandemic saw many nurses either quit their jobs or leave the industry completely due to burnout. A HWS survey showed that by 2025 there will be a shortage of over 100,000 nurses. The country has already put incentives in place to address this and bring in more nurses both locally and overseas. 

  • UAE

Nursing is highly sought after in the UAE. Being a dominant hub for expats, places like Saudi Arabia have been successful in attracting expats in fields like finance and entrepreneurship but have struggled to meet the same demand for the nursing and medical industry. The pandemic also meant that healthcare became a more pressing issue and the need to bring in more nurses increased. 

  • Haiti 

Haiti is also in desperate need of healthcare services. Being one of the poorest countries in the world, it naturally struggles to meet demand in many industries but currently has a severe lack of nurses. The US alone has more than 100 times the number of nurses than Haiti does, and therefore Haiti is desperately on the lookout for overseas nurses to manage this shortfall. 

What are the benefits of working abroad as a nurse?

There are many benefits working abroad as a nurse. Moving overseas can be a great career move and can bring many benefits that can only be experienced in a different country. Below are the top five benefits of working overseas as a nurse. 

  • Expand your network 

Expanding both your personal and professional network is a big advantage for nurses wanting to work overseas. By finding work in another country, nurses can meet new people within the nursing industry and open up new opportunities within the broader healthcare system. 

This network is also important to those wanting to advance their career. A large contact base within the medical industry means that nurses can more easily move into other areas of the healthcare system, such as taking senior nursing positions or even management or supervisory roles.

  • Gain international experience

Nurses can gain new cultural insights when working overseas that can apply to many aspects of their job. As each country their own distinct culture, nurses can adopt these skills and gain valuable international exposure. 

Nursing is a job focused on engaging with people. There are valuable things that can be learned by absorbing the culture and beliefs of a country other than your own. Learning how to converse with patients from different backgrounds or learning the etiquette of a foreign healthcare system are just a few examples of the benefits that come with a career spent working overseas.

  • Develop new skills 

A career spent overseas will also allow nurses to gain new knowledge and further their technical skills. As each country has its own unique healthcare system, nurses can gain exposure to foreign medical procedures and alternative ways to diagnose patients. For example, nurses working in Africa or poorer rural areas can expect to come across a variety of scenarios, such as exotic diseases that are only prevalent in certain parts of the world. These unique experiences are extremely useful in broadening their knowledge base and providing better healthcare to patients. 

  • Enjoy a different culture 

Taking a nursing job overseas is a great chance to experience a whole new culture. Being on the frontline of the health system means that nurses can have very stressful working lives. However, being in a new country gives them a great opportunity to relax properly during their downtime. 

Nurses working overseas have chances to explore new places, try new foods, and meet people from different cultures. These experiences are a great way to find a good work-life balance but can broaden your worldview to become a better professional and a more well-rounded person. 

  • Bigger earning potential 

Working abroad gives nurses the chance to fill demand in countries that have significant nursing shortages. This desperate need to fill vacancies means that nurses have higher negotiating power with their employers to earn higher salaries. A US national health survey stated that nurses could expect to earn up to US$15k more annually after 2+ years of international experience. 

Nurses who move overseas also develop a unique skill set due to their international experience and become a real asset to the healthcare system. This worldly experience is often highly sought after by employers. Therefore nurses can progress internally at a faster rate or can more easily move to another country to attain a higher position. 

In conclusion, there are many great opportunities for people wanting to pursue a career in the nursing industry. The global shortage means that countries are actively looking to fill the many vacancies and should prompt nurses to seriously consider pursuing a career abroad.