Most Common Issues International Nurses Face: Our Insights

Playing a vital role in one of the most demanding industries, international nurses often become aware of the challenges they face early in their careers. As a frontline worker, you know firsthand the unique demands of the profession. You have likely come up with a plan to endure these difficulties for the love of your work, finding fulfillment and reward in your vocation. 

The standard approach is to earn enough experience locally and hone your skills before seeking better opportunities. However, the day-to-day inequalities you and your colleagues often face at work deserve better conditions.

Below are some of the common challenges you may encounter as a nurse.

Low Income

Being underpaid is arguably a major challenge for most entry-level nurses. According to the International Council of Nurses (ICN), nurses are undervalued and underfunded. Additionally, women nurses face a more significant gender pay gap compared to professions in other sectors. 

Starting at the bottom and working towards a more prosperous life is common. However, the limited compensation for an occupation that demands so much sacrifice can discourage nurses from providing their valuable services locally. 

Better salary rates are often the determining factor as to why nurses go abroad. 

Long Shifts

Modern-day employees dread constant overworking because it can quickly lead to physical exhaustion and burnout. Nurses are, unfortunately, no strangers to this predicament. The reality is that our healthcare workforce is subject to lengthy service periods due to short staffing. At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, many nurses were reportedly working 12-hour shifts each day. Such an extreme predicament can take a toll on an individual’s physical and mental health, especially if proper support systems aren’t put in place.

Workplace Safety

Endangerment in the workplace is an apparent challenge to international nurses. At the onset of the pandemic in 2020, there was a notable shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) to safeguard healthcare workers from infection. The lack of ready supply meant that nurses had to make do with limited gear, risking their well-being to care for the influx of patients.


Nursing is a physically and emotionally demanding profession. Workplace stress may be commonplace in this busy day and age. Still, the amalgamation of poor overall work conditions contributes to heightened levels of stress that render our frontliners feeling downtrodden. 

Emergency responders often show signs of exhaustion due to the fast-paced nature of their work but have to shrug them off to heed their calling. Nurses’ overall performance and capacity to deliver quality care are negatively affected due to increased stress levels.

Lack of Overall Career Support

Nurses have to adhere to many prerequisites before entering the workforce. Sadly, the amount of effort local nurses have to put in is often unrewarded when it comes to pay, benefits, and work-life balance. Many caretakers are thrust into doing back-breaking work without adequate training and detailed career plans. From having to utilize a low-budget nursing simulation lab to scouring the internet for helpful and actionable information, our nurses find themselves going out of their way just to adapt to the strict demands of their profession.

Often, our nurses want to explore their options for professional growth. But the lack of overall career support adds extra layers to improve their job satisfaction.

Seeking Greener Pastures

As an international nurse, you might’ve already had personal experiences with the items mentioned above. You’re probably wondering what you can do to overcome these roadblocks and build a successful career with the promise of improved work-life balance. 

At globalRN, we support international nurses in finding job opportunities abroad through quality training and certification programs. We’ll partner with you to create the life you want abroad from start to finish by giving you access to the following: 

  • Great salary and benefits
  • Free housing for two years
  • Stability and security
  • Visa processing and fees
  • Opportunity to bring your family with you to the US

globalRN is committed to empowering nurses to work in better conditions and build their dream careers. We’re here to help you navigate your goals and support you as you reach greater heights.

Join Nurse Accelerator, our online community, to gain exclusive insights into shaping a better future career.