Open Letter to Global Nurses/Nurse Migrants in Light of COVID-19

During this time of challenge, we stand in reverence of our fellow nurses’ and healthcare workers’ fearless and selfless efforts in this unprecedented pandemic. COVID-19 is an unseen enemy that threatens the life of those who are infected.

Nurses are the unsung heroes in hospitals, providing the most intimate care, meeting the psychosocial and physiological needs of very sick patients while also supporting their families. What this pandemic has shown in real time, more than any slogan or poster could do, is the true commitment, capability, and sheer determination of nurses around the globe.  Nurses are combating this disease and saving lives while risking their own. We are living today in times that reaffirm why we have answered the call to become nurses. This is a time when our education, skills, and competencies are essential.

In this WHO-designated Year of the Nurse and Midwife, we will celebrate the culmination of the Nursing Now Campaign, the release of the WHO State of the World’s nursing report and Florence Nightingale’s 200th Anniversary. In times like these, when an estimated 1 in 10 U.S. nurses and 1 in 8 nurses of the world are migrants, migrant nurses need to be recognized for their many contributions to healthcare delivery and patient care around the word.

The WHO projects a global shortage of 9 million nurses and healthcare professionals by the year 2030. While the wealth of a nation is often measured by the health of the nation, throughout history we have learned that it is the nurses of the world that make nations healthy. In this vein, as a society, we must recognize the many contributions that nurse migrants have made in filling workforce shortages and improving the nation’s health. In this Year of the Nurse and Midwife, CGFNS International is highlighting the specific and significant contributions of nurse migrants. They are truly hidden treasures in the world of healthcare.

We will be reaching out to nurse migrants to hear your stories and learn more about your careers as we build a network of our CGFNS alumni. Our goal is to band together to improve our skills and give foreign-educated nurses the recognition that their work merits and deserves.

On behalf of the CGFNS International Board of Trustees and Staff, we thank you for everything you have done to advance the role of the migrating nurse and, most importantly, to take care of your patients.

We salute each of you in this Year of the Nurse and Midwife. Be safe and stay well.

Sr. Rosemary Donley, PhD, APRN, FAAN
Chair, CGFNS International Board of Trustees

Franklin A. Shaffer, EdD, RN, FAAN, FFNMRCSI
President & Chief Executive Officer, CGFNS International

Interested in joining or learning more about the CGFNS International Alumni Network?

We’re doing our part to help nurses combat this virus!

If you are a foreign-educated nurse who has passed the CP qualifying exam but have not yet taken the NCLEX-RN exam, you may be eligible to practice in New York state for up to one year. Any CP certificate holder can apply to New York state for RN licensure or a limited permit or purchase the CGFNS CP Certificate Verification Letter to be sent to the New York State Education Department. Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York has sent out an urgent plea for nurses.

CGFNS is asking Congress to allocate an extra 10,000 visas for foreign-educated nurses to enter the country to help in our efforts fighting the coronavirus.

Nurses with immigrant visas need to be able to enter the U.S. to work. We’ve worked with the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol to ensure that nurses with visas can board planes to come to the U.S., and to ensure that Canadian nurses that commute across the border are not impacted by border restrictions.

Similarly, in the wake of the pandemic, U.S. consulates and embassies have stopped interviewing nurses for their visas. We have asked the U.S. State Department to deem visa interviews for nurses as essential, so that they can occur whenever possible. We’ve also asked the National Visa Center to fast track nurses’ visas.

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Since 1977, CGFNS has been at the forefront of providing opportunity to nurses who wish to migrate to energize the countries they are migrating to and quite often, the countries they return to, transforming themselves and their families in the process.

We at CGFNS salute nurses who create change in healthcare policy, in migration, in society, in their own lives—and most of all, in the health and well-being of those they care for.