Further, the vast majority of them (86%) treated covid-19 patients, and more than half (56%) treated multiple covid-19 patients. It shows: One in three experienced mental health issues as a consequence of covid-19, and 81% report feelings of burnout. As of April 2020, foreign nurses were paying a high price for their role in treating covid-19: 24% of the nurses who died with covid-19 were from the Philippines, although only 4% of the workforce is Filipino.

Yet this doesn’t translate into a desire to quit the profession—particularly in the US. Almost 80% of foreign nurses say they are satisfied with their jobs, 81% would want to work in the US again, and only 14% have considered quitting during covid-19, compared to half of American nurses. International nurses qualify to receive permanent residence alongside other categories of specialized workers, so their decision to quit wouldn’t affect their ability to live and work in the US.

Although exact numbers aren’t available, it is estimated that about 8% of the 3 million nurses working in the US are foreigners or foreign-educated. These percentages are expected to increase as more international nurses are recruited to compensate the shortage of American healthcare workers. “[International nurses] are not going to solve our domestic problem—we have a nurse shortage and we have a lack of nurse educators,” says Sinead Carbery, O’Grady-Peyton International’s president.

Yet in the short term, recruiting more international nurses will help fill some of the gaps, particularly as international nurses are far more likely to prefer full-time employment with one healthcare facility than working as travel nurses, despite the more lucrative nature of contract work. According to the survey, only 10% of international nurses accepted a travel assignment.

Currently, says Carbery, the department of state is giving priority to processing green cards for nurses, and there isn’t a shortage of visas available because there are quotas left open by other workers who didn’t end up moving to the US during the pandemic.

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