The nursing shortage has raised some issues in the nursing industry, one of which is the influx of already educated foreign nurses to U.S. hospitals and the backlash from U.S. nurses, nursing associations, and others with axes to grind.
To be clear, American nursing schools are not filling up with foreigners. If anything they are hardly being filled at all, which is part of the “shortage” problem—few nurse educators and lack of classroom space to educate the horde of hungry students, which includes freshly minted high school grads, career-changers, minorities, and some international students. The mix is getting more and more diverse and that in and of itself is desirable in the Big Picture.
International nursing students are here to study for some of the same reasons as any other type of international college student—because they desire a particular type of education they may only be able to get at an American nursing school. Fact is some schools of nursing are extremely notable for their academic and practical programs that could include stellar BSN, MSN and PhD programs.
Some of the first significant numbers of foreign nursing students and working professional nurses are from the Philippines, then and now. The population of Philippine nurses is large enough to warrant a very active nursing association, the Philippine Nurses Association of America (PNAA).
Nursing schools require international nursing students to pass the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and provide evidence of previous education necessary for admission to a U.S. school.
Prospective nursing students from outside the U.S. looking to study at a graduate nursing program must also have the credentials equal to a BSN degree and appropriate work experience if necessary. GRE scores may also be required. If international nurses have not already taken and passed the NCLEX-RN exam they will be required to either before they start school or by a certain point in their studies. The same with the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools Exam, which tests foreign nursing students on concepts and skills applicable to the American RN.