Nurse Practitioners on the Move: The Journey to the United States

Barbara Sheer DNSc, FNP-C, FAANP


Topics in Advanced Practice Nursing eJournal. 2007;7(2) 

In This Article

One Nurse's Experience: From the United Kingdom to the United States

An NP from the United Kingdom described the 4-year ordeal that took her from practicing as an NP in Wales to practicing in the United States as an APN. She was one of the first NPs in Wales, and graduated from a program that used guidelines from the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties (NONPF), the primary group responsible for developing core competencies and curriculum guidelines for NP practice and education. Despite this, she faced many obstacles both in the United States and the United Kingdom.

This nurse's journey began in 1998. Obtaining transcripts from educational programs that no longer existed was a lengthy process. She then had to submit additional information in regard to courses and content prior to obtaining approval to take the CGFNS qualifying examination. At that time the testing was offered only twice a year, so another 6 months elapsed before she was able to take the exam. Passing the CGFNS qualifying examination and the subsequent NCLEX exam went smoothly, and she applied to the state board for an RN license in 1999.

The next step was to apply to take the national certification examination required by the state for advanced practice. This also presented unforeseen challenges. Because she was the first foreign graduate to apply to sit for the NP examination, it was necessary to clarify NP program content. The process involved more correspondence with the faculty in the United Kingdom and the certifying body. She did not receive approval to take the exam until 2001. It was another 6 months to complete the exam and receive the results.

Nationally certified as an NP, the final step was to apply for APN licensure in the state where she wished to practice. Unfortunately the state had never before approved a graduate of a foreign program at the APN level, so final licensure was not granted until 2002.


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