Comparative trend analysis of characteristics of internationally educated nurses and U.S. educated nurses

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Background: Internationally educated nurses have been an integral part of the US nurse workforce since the end of the Second World War, especially since the immigration reform in 1965. With the worsening nurse shortage, US employers are intensifying their recruitment efforts by targeting IENs.

Methods:   Secondary analysis using datasets from the National Sample Survey of Registered Nurses conducted during 1977–2000 in the USA.

Results:  Findings indicated that there were important differences between IENs and US educated nurses in their trends of demographical, educational and employment characteristics over time. As a group, IENs were younger but more experienced as nurses and better prepared educationally; worked more hours in both primary and secondary nursing positions; and were primarily employed in urban hospitals as staff nurses in direct care roles, with an increasing proportion working in extended care facilities.

Conclusions:  Inter-group and intra-group comparisons suggest that (a) IENs were likely to have longer, more productive nursing careers, (b) because of their demographical and employment characteristics, IENs had a greater impact on relieving the US nurse shortage per capita during 1977–2000, and (c) IENs were making increasingly important contributions to the care of Americans, particularly older Americans and those cared for in inner city hospitals.


Nurses; Foreign; Nurses — Supply and demand; United States


Nursing Administration | Other Nursing

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