Written by Joanna Hughes

If you are thinking of pursuing a career in nursing and you are open to studying abroad, you have many options. In fact, there are a number of reasons to choose an international nursing degree, including high standards of nursing education, generous funding and support for nursing students, an innovative approach to teaching and practicing nursing, well-recognized nursing credentials, high salary potential for nursing graduates, and a shortage of nursing professionals within that country.

Here’s a closer look at five destinations to consider when it comes to nursing studies.

1. The United Kingdom

Nursing degrees are the UK’s most employable type of degree, according to Health Education England’s Health Careers website. A whopping 94 percent of nursing students land a job within six months of completing their coursework. The UK is also home to many excellent nursing programs.

This demand equates to opportunities: participation in the Overseas Nursing Programme (ONP) enables international students to register as nurses in the UK. The ONP can be completed as part of a bachelor’s or master’s degree in nursing, and qualifies students to work for either for the NHS or the private sector. And if you are looking for financial support, NHS bursaries are available for which international students may also be able to qualify, depending on the circumstance.

One more reason to pursue nursing studies in the UK as a path to working there? NHS nurses from overseas enjoy many benefits, including high salaries, manageable work hours, and guaranteed long-term contracts.

2. The USA

As with many other countries, the USA is facing a deficit of nursing professionals. As a result, international nurses have unprecedented opportunities there for school and work.

Prospective international students interested in nursing careers have many options in the US at various degree levels. After receiving nursing degrees in the US, graduates can either return home or stay and work as long as certain requirements are met, including being granted a Visa Screen Certificate.

One example? South Korean national Misal Kwon, who received her bachelor of science in nursing and now works as a licensed registered nurse in New York. “I witnessed firsthand the importance of evidence-based nursing, nursing research as an undergrad teaching assistant, quality improvement and interprofessional collaboration in our complex health care system,” she told US News & World Report.

As a nurse in the US, Kwon enjoys many benefits, including job security, flexible work schedule, and the opportunity for lifelong learning.

Another reason the US is a great place to study nursing? Many colleges and universities offer scholarship support for international nursing students.

3. Australia

Australia is a top international study destination, and with good reason: top universities, a strong education infrastructure, a high standard of living, and a diverse population are a few of the reasons that add up to a world-class education in Australia. Factor in sophisticated hospitals, medical equipment and technology, and Australia’s allure is strong for international students planning to study nursing.

High demand for nurses adds up to plenty of work opportunities for international students, as well. The Institute of Health and Nursing America (IHNA) asserts, “Registered Nurses may be the most sought-after healthcare position not only in Australia but also worldwide, as the demand for skilled and experienced Registered Nurses (RNs) far outweighs the supply. This increasing demand for Registered Nurses (RNs) is fuelled by multiple factors – among them is a sharp increase in the numbers of the aging population and a far greater need for chronic care and acute care management. If you are interested in a career as a Registered Nurse (RN) in Australia, then this is certainly the best time to step into this field.”

Students from abroad are so welcome in Australia, in fact, that the government offers more than $200 million in international scholarships every year. Meanwhile, the perks of working as a nurse in Australia include a working visa with terms allowing the migration of your entire family and entitlement to all of the benefits of Australian workers, according to Nursing Careers Australia.

4. Norway

Norway’s premier higher education system and universities are held in high esteem around the world. Not only are its nursing degrees an embodiment of Norway’s excellence, but many nursing programs are designed for international students studying abroad and are therefore taught in English. While Norway is generally friendly to foreigners, nurses looking to study and work in Norway are especially welcome given a lack of qualified nurses mandating a need for foreign talent.

One especially compelling reason to study nursing in Norway? Tuition-free universities -- even for international students.

5. Russia

According to Study in Russia, the website of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation, “Nursing education in Russia allows foreign applicants to get higher education and to enter the labor market being an in-demand professional with a wide range of competencies.” With degrees offered at the bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral levels, you are sure to find a program that meets your needs and goals.

In addition to gaining theoretical and practical knowledge and experience, nursing students in Russia also walk away with invaluable cross-cultural skills, which will continue to come in handy wherever they end up practicing.

One last thing to keep in mind? While not falling under the heading of a “country,” no discussion of nursing studies is complete without mention of online degrees, which have changed the face of nursing education by breaking down the barriers of geography.

Of the benefits of online nursing education, Minority Nurse says, “Online learning offers students who are trying to balance a family, career, and other commitments the opportunity to earn a degree without sacrificing their other interests and obligations. An online nursing program may also offer a wider variety of degrees than a local university -- if a local university is even an option. Especially in rural areas, the distance and time to travel to a brick-and-mortar institution may make this option impractical.”

Of course, not all online programs and degrees are created equal. “Above all, prospective nursing students need to be diligent and research the institution. Talk to an enrollment advisor about the program and the various resources available. Also, reach out to faculty members and current students, as well as alumni who have gone through the program. Ask them questions about their experience, course content, and how the degree has helped them succeed,” adds Minority Nurse.

Today’s aspiring nurses have more options than ever before when it comes to choosing where to study. And while there is no denying that global healthcare faces many challenges, pursuing a nursing degree is a wonderful way to be part of the solution.

ArticleEducationStudy AbroadStudent TipsInternational News
Joanna worked in higher education administration for many years at a leading research institution before becoming a full-time freelance writer. She lives in the beautiful White Mountains region of New Hampshire with her family.
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