Book excerpt: Orientation for foreign-educated nurses

Staff Development Weekly: Insight on Evidence-Based Practice in Education, January 7, 2011

Foreign-educated nurses have complex transitional needs that healthcare organizations should address. Many have difficulty coping with the transition to their host country. Everything is different, and their support systems are no longer in place. Once nurses have accepted a position, the organization should begin to prepare for their arrival.

Foreign-educated nurses attend new-employee orientation alongside all new hires at the organization. Next, the nurse attends clinical/nursing orientation. Before the nurse goes on to the unit-level orientation, he or she should attend a specialized orientation.

A comprehensive orientation designed to meet the unique needs of a foreign-educated nurse may require a full week to complete. There are four primary categories to consider when planning an orientation program:

  1. Socialization to the professional nurses' role
  2. Acquisition of language and other communication skills
  3. Development of clinical and organizational workplace competence
  4. Availability of resources within the system

Source: Adapted from Nursing Orientation Program Builder: Tools for a Successful New Hire Program. For more information, visit

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