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How Foreign Nurses Impact US Nursing Jobs

Written By The Shapiro Law Group on March 26, 2021

Foreign nurses working in hospitals and other healthcare facilities do not negatively impact wages or unemployment rates in the United States. As the country and world are still in the clutches of the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for nurses, doctors, and other healthcare workers has risen to historic levels. Coupled with retirements and an aging population, the need for more nurses has never been greater or a more pressing concern.

Study Shows Positive Benefits

Data gathered by the US Census and the American Community Survey from 1980-2015, shows that there is not a detrimental effect on wages, job openings, unemployment, or other metrics associated with the introduction of increasing numbers of foreign-born nurses in the United States.

In fact, the US is expected to have an elderly population exceeding 87.5 million by 2050. At the same time, the number of doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals is beginning to shrink. Left unchecked, this will further exacerbate strains on the healthcare system. In turn, it will limit access to care and result in poorer healthcare outcomes.

Foreign Nurses Do More Than Fill a Gap

Foreign-born nurses do more than fill in gaps in staffing levels. They bring with them vast experience, expertise, and training. This enhances the quality of care they can provide patients. Their language skills also allow healthcare providers to provide better care to a more diverse population. By breaking down language barriers, foreign nurses help improve communication and treatment outcomes among patient populations.

Changes on the Horizon

COVID-19 has changed everything within the healthcare landscape. Medicine has gone online. Cooperative research is expanding beyond borders. AI and other technologies are advancing at a rapid rate. As the role of healthcare workers takes on increasing importance, borders are poised to fall and barriers to immigration along with them. 

As this happens, it will make it much easier for nurses and other healthcare professionals from India, Canada, the Philippines, China, and other countries to find employment in the United States. It is also likely that the requirements for foreign-born nurses will be significantly altered to meet the needs of a changing landscape and an evolving healthcare industry. Indeed, policymakers in Washington, D.C., and across the country are already discussing the need for meaningful immigration reform to take place before the next healthcare crisis rises over the horizon.