Nursing Abroad? Everything You Need To Know To Prepare


No matter the occupation, many people will tell you that there are numerous benefits to working abroad for a temporary period of time. Nurses are certainly no exception to this rule, and there is a lot of value in having this kind of experience under your belt. Whether it’s the valuable addition to your CV, development of new skills, or cultivating the awareness of the living conditions of less fortunate people, there are many reasons to at least consider the opportunity.

Let’s say that you’ve already thought about the process, applied for an international placement, and through rigorous preparation and interviewing you got accepted in spite of the competition. You are ready to get started right away, but you also want to prepare yourself in advance for anything that could go wrong.

Not to worry, because we’ve come up with a succinct guide on the things that you should be familiar with. Before you even think of setting foot on the plane, these key items should be fully addressed. It sounds like unnecessary work to do, but it will only set you up for an unforgettable experience that you will not regret for years to come!


Whilst Doctors will give you a heads up on recommended Vaccines, some countries actually require that you have the vaccine before being allowed in, such as the Yellow Fever vaccine.  People get touchy about this subject, but it is an absolute necessity for your safety and of those you will be working with. Wherever you are going, find out what inoculations you will need in order to keep yourself healthy. The last thing you want happening is to fall prey to a local illness and end up being taken care of by the people you are supposed to be working with.

Travel Documents:

This includes updating your passport, checking the terms of your temporary VISA if needed, getting the necessary insurance, and knowing your rights as a temporary guest worker within the country. You don’t have to know every single law, but you do need to know the ones that are pertinent to nursing and to common activities within the country.

Packing Appropriate Clothes:

Depending on where you are staying, you can usually expect a significant change in climate. It is easy enough to choose clothes that will best match the weather in the country you are working in, but do not worry too much about getting everything right. In the worst case scenario, you can always buy clothes locally.

Preparing for Cultural Shock:

It is easy to take health care for granted if you are coming from a system where free access is granted for all patients. The unfortunate reality is that the treatments and care needed by patients will not be available to all of them. Due to a struggling economy or other related reasons, you may find yourself dealing with the harsh experience of refusing the necessary medication or operations to somebody who simply cannot afford it. This is merely a mental preparation, but one that should be made as soon as possible.

Stress Management:

When you are not working in the hospital, you will be immersed in a brand new culture and a way of living that you are not familiar with. Many nurses working abroad for the first time find themselves intimidated by what they see, and experience higher levels of stress than normal. It is not uncommon to see nurses become homesick, or have second doubts about their work placement when they see how citizens in developing countries live on a daily basis.


Depending on the program that you have enrolled in, you may or may not get some financial benefits in the form of discounts. This can include housing, protection against any forms of illness or injury, and access to certain services. However, the onus is on you to make sure that you are financially prepared. If possible, you should budget all of the money you will need for your trip and account for your day-to-day living expenses. If you are stuck, you can always ask your contacts in the new place of work for an estimate on how much money you should have saved up in advance.

While working abroad as a nurse comes with benefits, it can also come with detriments that would make anybody take a few extra seconds to re-consider their decision. You may experience some level of stress from the nature of the job, but you want to minimize any stress that comes from a lack of in-advance preparation. By getting ready at home before you have left, you

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