As you know, I travel to Nepal to teach critical care skills to nurses and doctors. My goal is to improve the skill level and have a positive impact on health outcomes in Nepal. One of the challenges for me is that so many of the people I train take their skills to Australia or the UK or USA. I think I have trained 150 nurses now in Sydney!
The Big Question
I was very frequently asked “How can I be a nurse in USA?”
My first reaction was “Don’t. Nepal needs you, right here.”
Then after awhile, I realized I might as well put my answer in writing and refer people to this blog. It saved me time, since I no longer needed to answer the question.
“go to the blog. It’s all there.”
How to go to USA and lose your skills.
Often, the kind of person who is going to USA is a Nepali nurse who has specialized skills in Nepal and a high-status job such as in an ICU or specialty area. Now, I personally know some Nepali nurses now in USA who are, for example working in Labor and Delivery or ICU; but more often these persons accept a job in a different specialty. In USA there is a shortage of nurses who will work in Geriatrics, and many times this is where the foreign nurses work. You need to be prepared to take such a job if you can’t find the one you want.
Today’s new information to read.
I had sort of heard about the H4 visa problem, but not really paid attention until this past weekend. There was a very informative article about visa categories written by a person from India, in their blog.
Here is the problem:
If you marry a guy who is on an H1-B visa, you are given a spouse’s visa (H4) which allows you to be in USA, but specifically prevents you from working. The article described spouses from India, but it also applies to Nepali spouses.
And then there’s the huge cohort of Indian women whose careers are unravelling far away from home—in the United States of America. In the world’s biggest economy, these women are unencumbered by many of the social challenges those in India often face. Yet, their professional lives are being cut short. The culprit is a class of visa that is almost Victorian in its restrictions. (from: http://qz.com/797831/the-h4-visa-and-the-desperation-of-indian-housewives-in-america/?utm_source=KWFBUSQZ&kwp_0=273980 )
Let me be clear: this does not apply if the guy is in USA with a Green Card or if he is a citizen. I am unclear if it applies when the guy is on a J-1 visa ( i.e., a 10-year medical visa) – maybe some of the readers can help.
The entire article is well worth the read for those thinking of this route to USA.
There is a YouTube video that also describes this problem. https://youtu.be/Nj34k6fLpf4
And of course, a FaceBook page you might want to “like” https://www.facebook.com/H4visaacurse/
If you go to the list of top posts from this blog (on the right of this page) you will see that the most popular ones deal with the ins and outs of leaving Nepal to work. (and of course, to see the world). You are invited to browse all of them and become an expert. If you must go abroad, you need to have your eyes open and know how to navigate.
I should add, you can address this problem by doing the extra paperwork for you own H1-B visa ahead of time, or converting over to one when you get there. But it add weeks or months to the timetable. so – be aware of it from the beginning.
Finally, if you got this far.
I have written two books, and they are both available on Amazon.
The Hospital at the End of the World https://www.amazon.com/Hospital-at-End-World/dp/1935514288 tells about my first trip to Nepal. I tried to prepare as best I could, but it was clear I didn’t really know what I was getting into. I wrote the book to inform future global nursing volunteers as to what it was like.
The second book is The Sacrament of the Goddess. https://www.amazon.com/Sacrament-Goddess-Joe-Niemczura/dp/1632100029 This one is a novel. It’s set in a hospital in Nepal during the civil war, and the people in it are forced to deal with crisis. I wanted to explore the ways that Buddhism influences choice made under stress. It’s also a honking good adventure story. Click here to browse the blog for The Sacrament of the Goddess. https://sacramentofthegoddess.wordpress.com/
You can get The Sacrament of the Goddess at Tibetan Books in Thamel.