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What’s It Like to Practice Nursing in Another Country? (Podcast)

The CNO of Cleveland Clinic London shares insight and advice on international nursing

Some nurses in the United States dream of working internationally during their career. While it can be incredibly rewarding, navigating differences in language, roles and clinical practice can be challenging.

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In the latest episode of Cleveland Clinic’s Nurse Essentials podcast, Sheila Miller, DNP, MSN, MBA, RN, shares her thoughts on international nursing. As CNO of Cleveland Clinic London, which has caregivers representing more than 95 nationalities, Miller has unique insight. She discusses:

  • The importance of shedding assumptions and being open-minded to new experiences
  • Universal shared nursing values that transcend location
  • Nursing responsibilities and practices that vary from country to country
  • The role of shared governance in international nursing
  • Advice for caregivers considering an international position

Click the podcast player above to listen to the episode now, or read on for a short edited excerpt. Check out more Nurse Essentials episodes at my.clevelandclinic.org/podcasts/nurse-essentials or wherever you get your podcasts.

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Podcast excerpt

Podcast host Carol Pehotsky, DNP, RN, NEA-BC: What would you say to somebody who's interested in [taking an international assignment]? What should they be thinking about?

Miller: I think the first thing to consider is how it fits in your life and your career right now. It's not a small thing, so thinking about is it something you feel up to at this particular time? Does it work well with your life? Quite frankly, there have been a couple of times in my career when I considered it. And I really waited until the time was right. So, I think that's the first thing, because the truth of the matter is it's a big step. And the more prepared you feel, the better it will go.

The benefits are many. You get to meet a lot of wonderful people. You get to see practice in different ways. It broadens your experience, not only as a professional, but also personally.

I think if someone's deciding that they're going to take an international assignment, thinking beyond the things you would think about for any move – like where you're going to live and what your commute is like – but thinking about the organization you're going to. Does it fit with your values? Do you feel at home there? Do you feel like you're a part of and you're aligned with what they're about?

And then I think it's really important to prepare for, there are going to be times when it's going to be really hard. You're going to say, whether it's professionally again or in your personal life, “I knew exactly how this worked at home, and I can't seem to get this to work here." And then to figure out how you'll manage through those moments when that happens.

The great side is it really helps you understand how resilient you can be, which really builds your ability to be better and better both as a nurse and as a person.

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