Foreign Nurses to Find Home in America’s Health Care System with Help from the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing

Foreign Nurses to Find Home in America’s Health Care System with Help from the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing

Nurses from foreign countries that have relocated to the Nashville area and want to work as nurses in the United States will get some help thanks to a new course created by the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing, in partnership with the Vanderbilt English Language Center.

"The course will help nurses who were educated in their own countries to prepare to take the registered nurse licensing exams here, master English language skills, and help them learn to bridge cultural gaps in the U.S. health care system and their home countries," said Linda Norman, D.S.N., senior associate dean of Academics at VUSN.

The Refugee Services Program of the Metropolitan Social Services estimates that more than 95,000 people have immigrated to Davidson County, with the majority being Hispanic, Laotian, Kurdish, and Native Americans, and representing more than two dozen different ethnic backgrounds. VUSN Community Health instructor, Carol Etherington, M.S.N., a world leader in aiding refugees in war-torn countries and an active mentor to the refugee population in Nashville, helped spark the idea for the creation of the new course. "Having a program like this and utilizing skills of people who have already migrated to the United States and plan to remain here is a far more reasonable approach to enhancing the nursing pool than going to another country and recruiting them," said Etherington.

The course will eventually help any foreign-born nurse from the refugee or immigrant population find work in the field of nursing. "It’s an asset to Nashville to have them in health care here because we have a lot of different nationalities living here. This is a great service Vanderbilt is providing to the refugee population in Nashville," said Dawn Turton, Ph.D., director of the Vanderbilt English Language Center.

Students interested in enrolling in the program must show proof of education in programs that are similar to U.S. registered nurse programs from their home country before beginning the six-week course. It will cover language in the morning and nursing and clinical laboratory work in the afternoon, and will also focus on socialization issues foreign nurses will face in a Western system.

The School of Nursing and the English Language Center are currently exploring ways to help students with the cost of the course, expected to be around $3,000. It’s expected to begin sometime in May. To offer funding assistance or learn more about enrolling contact Linda Norman’s office at: 615-343-3241, or the English Language Center at: 615-322-2277.

Contact: Heather L. Hall

Phone: 615-322-3894