Traveling to America for the First Time as a Registered Nurse
Have you ever imagined what it will feel like traveling to America for the first time after years of waiting and working toward your dream?
Some of you don’t have to imagine it, because you’ve already experienced it. Everyone is different, but there’s usually a mix of excitement, eagerness, and exhaustion. And to be honest, there can even be fear and loneliness. These emotions usually come in waves for the first few months after arriving.
We know it’s a life-changing event when our nurses move to America, which is why we strive to make the transition as easy and enjoyable as possible.
As nurses, you’re probably familiar with Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. But you likely don’t realize the innate process of trying to fulfill those needs upon arrival to a new country. We realize this necessity and continue to improve on how we help you achieve your needs.
When you arrive to America and meet us at the airport, our goal is to take care of the bottom three needs first – Physiological, Safety, and Belonging. We also support Esteem and Self-Actualization, but those are a secondary fulfillment after the first three are cared for.
Here’s what we do to help:
Moving to a new country with new customs and an unfamiliar way of life makes even the most basic requirements of life a challenge. This is why Maslow places Physiological Needs lowest on the pyramid – they are the foundation that must be met before any other human need can be met.
Your first order of business as a new nurse is to establish a place to live, a place that is safe and comfortable. Along with that, comes the need to understand where to buy food and other necessities of life.
We want you to hit the ground running, to have your physiological needs met first and foremost. While you’re still flying across the world, we’re getting essential items for your apartment to make sure you have everything you need to sleep well the first night. We also provide you with a stipend, so you can buy what you need before you start working.
After a long day of traveling, our bodies usually don’t feel normal. We make sure you have food and drinks to help bring a sense of normalcy. We don’t greet you at the airport as a formal employer; we greet you at the airport as an ally and support system to make you more comfortable and guide you through your first few days in America.
Safety means many different things to people, but first and foremost, we won’t have you live anywhere that’s unsafe. As mentioned already, we arrange your housing and buy essential items ahead of time.
To help promote a sense of security, we immediately get you access to a phone, so you can communicate domestically and internationally. We’ll also help you understand your new city, so you don’t have to figure it out on your own.
Our role in helping you belong is to connect you to your new community. This starts with knowing the people you’ll be spending most of your time with – the hospital staff. We coordinate time to meet your supervisors and sometimes co-workers on your unit, so it’s not brand new on your first day of work.
We also connect you with other Shearwater nurses in your city and often share a meal. The purpose is to reinforce that you’re not alone, even after your Arrival Coordinator has left. Belonging requires adaptation to a new culture but being with others who have already adapted is a huge help.
Addressing the need for esteem doesn’t actually start when you arrive to the U.S., but rather it starts during the placement process. We work hard to match you with the right hospital and specialty, so you can succeed in your role. During your contract, we’re always here as a support system for you and your hospital to ensure your success.
Self-Actualization takes the most time, but it’s ultimately the reason many of you decided to pursue a dream of working in America. Many nurses become charge nurses and preceptors during their assignment. After their contract, nurses report becoming Nurse Practitioners, Managers, and feeling great fulfillment in their decision to come to America through Shearwater.
Curious what the arrival process looks like in real life? Watch our video below documenting the arrival of a group of Shearwater nurses.