By Rosemary Goodyear
Are you dreaming about working with an international nursing or healthcare organizations but don’t know what you might do or where to find out about these organizations? The good news is that nursing around the world is similar in that we care for patients who are ill and help bring them to a state of wellness again. However, nursing around the world is also different as cultures are different in different nations, and rules and regulations guiding nursing and their scope of practice vary. It is important to be aware of cultural and regulatory differences if you want to work internationally.
If you are interested in volunteering or working in the international nursing community, there are many opportunities for connecting with agencies that can make the link. Seek out Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs), religious affiliated organizations, academic institutions, and professional organizations such as Sigma Theta Tau as possibilities for making an international nursing experience a reality. Exchange programs for scholars, teachers and students, sponsored by the US government, are available through the Institute of International Education https://www.iie.org/ or the Fulbright Association http://www.cies.org/. Each website will provide information and guidance about their mission and enrollment process. Be sure you read all the options and guidelines and talk to colleagues who have participated in international experience for references and referrals.
The next step in preparing for an international experience begins with research into the history and activities of international organizations such the UN. The United Nations, http://un.org initiated in 1945 by President F. D. Roosevelt, is the parent organization that has the goal to foster unity and cooperation among the nations around the world. The World Health Organization http://who.int is a system within the UN responsible for coordinating health care around the world. The International Council of Nurses, http://icn.ch is the oldest and largest professional organization responsible for guiding nursing throughout the globe by establishing standards and codes of practice. The ICN International Nurse Practitioner/ Advanced Practice Network (ICN INP/APN) https://www.aanp.org/international/international-nursing-network provides information on professional trends and issues regarding global nursing practice. Most nations participate as members in these organizations and often provide links to information about the nation of your interest.
NCA can provide guidance in preparing for international nursing experience. Dr. Goodyear a Fulbright Scholar and a Fulbright Specialist in Global Health, is an expert in international program development and evaluation and is currently working with the Ministry of Health in Taiwan on a “Train the Trainer” program of caregivers of the elderly who reside in the community.