Whether you’re training to become a nurse fresh out of school, or you’re thinking about changing your profession to nursing after building up some experience in the world of work, the experience you gain throughout your studies will make all the difference to your career.
As you work towards the qualifications that will enable you to access the particular field of nursing in which you are interested, you’ll encounter a wide range of opportunities of different kinds.
You may even come across the chance to complete a placement in another country in order to experience an entirely different healthcare system or study for a particularly specialized role.
This may seem like a big step, and can sound a little intimidating at first, but there are a huge number of benefits to working and studying overseas. Being open to an opportunity of this kind can result in something life changing and career-enhancing.
Along with a range of other benefits, an international placement is likely to increase and improve your:
- Understanding of other cultures and healthcare systems
- Access to further opportunities
Below, we’ll explore these areas in detail, along with what they may mean for your nursing career and what you’ll need to consider before taking the leap.
Nursing placements can be challenging, and this is especially true if you’re heading to an entirely different country for yours.
You may need to contend with a language barrier, cultural differences, unfamiliar techniques or terminology and other hurdles along the way. However, this certainly isn’t a bad thing!
Putting yourself to the test in this way can make a huge difference to your communication skills, problem-solving abilities, attention to detail, approaches to teamwork and ability to lead — all of which are among top qualities that every excellent nurse should have.
Additionally, the experience and confidence you’ll gain in overcoming each of these challenges will prepare you to tackle even more in the future without feeling intimidated and will help you to develop a can-do attitude and a level of knowledge that will equip you well for your future career.
Once you’ve completed an overseas placement, you’ll be able to apply yourself to a great deal more than you ever thought possible.
Remember that you will be supported by a knowledgeable and experienced team throughout your placement, so there will always be someone to turn to for guidance and advice.
Understanding of other cultures and healthcare systems
If, in the long term, you intend to return home to the US to work as a nurse, your newfound understanding of the systems and processes employed by other countries may prove extremely valuable to your job.
You may end up treating patients who hail from the country where you were once placed, or from anywhere else outside of the US.
If you have experienced an overseas placement, you will have a head start in understanding how medicine is practiced differently in other countries.
This will help you to better support your international patients as they navigate a foreign healthcare system, perhaps for the first time.
The doctors and nurses you meet on your placement may also offer you a fresh perspective on your role and could introduce you to new approaches and ways of thinking that you would not have considered — or even heard of — if you had completed all your training in the US.
Access to further opportunities
Once you have experience working abroad, you may find that many more doors are open to you. You might even learn of opportunities in the country where you were placed, which is likely to introduce you to a new potential career path or avenue of work that you never knew existed.
Upon broadening your horizons to the international stage, the work available becomes far more diverse, which means you’ll be more likely to find a job that is the perfect fit for you, your interests and your strengths.
There are many ways to develop your skills and progress, both as a trainee nurse and further on in your career. However, with so many others seeking employment within the same field, it’s always extremely helpful to have something on your resume that really makes you stand out.
Hospitals and other healthcare employers are likely to consider you a very promising candidate. They may even select you for interview over others if they see that you have experience studying or practicing medicine in another country.
This is because medical professionals understand the benefits listed above and know that as you have worked on placement overseas that you are likely to have developed a skill-set that is more diverse and varied than many of your competitors.
Things to think about when considering an overseas placement
Naturally, it can be something of a challenge to arrange an international placement. After all, you need to consider accommodation, travel and any duties and responsibilities you may have back home in addition to travel requirements such as a work or study visa.
One of the most exciting things about planning to train as a nurse — or change careers to nursing — is that there are a plethora of online courses available, which means you can continue your studies at a US-based university without the need to be present on campus, so that is one less thing to worry about. Programs such as those offered by Baylor University make it easier to transition to nursing thanks to the flexible schedules they provide.
There are even overseas opportunities within educational establishments that offer courses of this kind. Your planning and preparation will be supported by course leaders to ensure that everything goes as smoothly as possible.
To gain an entirely fresh perspective on your studies and experience, to branch out in search of more diverse opportunities and to put together the most impressive resume possible, an overseas nursing placement is an excellent option to consider.
Explore your options and plan carefully before you make a commitment and prepare for a whole world of opportunity opening up before you.