Sunday, February 21, 2010

Nursing salary

- New grads (less than 1 year of experience) = $32.36 per hour
3 years of experience
- Clinical nurse I- $36.94/hour
- Clinical nurse II- $38.81/hour
- Clinical nurse III- $40.75/hour
Increases about 2% every 6 months
- Per diem (no benefits) - $40.04/hour

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Interesting information

I visited Pantip website and found out this link. It is very interesting for people who want to be a nurse in other countries (Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada, and others). It really looks informative. Since I passed the NCLEX exam and started a job long time ago, I didn't realize that many things have changed. Now, people who already passed both English and nursing exams have to wait to get a working visa due to a small quota for foreign nurses. Check for more information from Good luck to you all.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Passed the interview

I finally passed the naturalization interview today after preparing it for 3 weeks. Hooray!!!! It was easier than I thought and took only 20 minutes for the whole process (not count the waiting time for another 15 minutes). The officer was nice and friendly. He went through my document and asked me about my background first. Then, he asked me only 6 questions since I got all right. All the questions were exactly listed in 100 questions in the booklet or study guide. For the reading test, he asked me to read "How many Senators do we have?" He asked me to write the answer on another piece of paper for the writing test in full sentence. That was it!!. Very very easy. I was nervous at the start, but I was finally relieved. There was no pressure at all. Now, I'm looking forward to taking an oath in next few months. And then, I'll be officially an American citizen. :)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

F1 visa, Green card, and Citizenship

When you're holding a F1 visa (as a foreign student), your freedom is limited in some parts. It is good because you will focus on your study and finish school as schedule. However, you pay for tuition fee is about 3 or 4 times higher than residents if you go to a public college or university because you have to pay additional fee per unit. Of course, the tuition fee for a private college is higher, but you pay the same as a resident. Keep your status legally at all time, so your I-20 is very important. You normally cannot work because they would stamp on your social security card that you're not authorized to work. However, you can work on campus less than 20 hours a week if you are a full time students. Many foreign students work in the office, library, kitchen, depending on job availability. Six months before graduating, if you plan to get some work experience here, you need to apply for practical training and it is good for a year. Contact your international student office for more information. The training is only for students who seek for a degree, not a certificate, and you can have it only one time. So, think about it before you apply.
If you want to travel, you need to get a visa for the country you want to visit. You normally don't need a visa to visit Mexico and Canada if you live in California, but you still need to contact your international student office in order to get a note or stamp at the back of your I-20. Passport is always required for traveling. Make sure that your passport or US visa are not expired in 6 months before the date of traveling. If yes, it is better to renew it first if you plan to come back.
Having a green card will give you more freedom to go outside the U.S. You will be in the same line as U.S. citizens when you enter the U.S. The process is quicker because they don't ask you a lot of questions (unless you're suspicious!) However, you still need to get visas when you travel because you're not holding a U.S. passport.
If you have had a green card for 5 years (3 years if you married to a U.S. citizen), you can apply for a citizenship. When you are a citizen, you will have a U.S. passport so that you can travel around the globe. Two extra things that citizens have to do are serve on a jury and vote in the federal election. Severing on a jury will be about once a year. Sometimes they don't need you as a jury because they have enough volunteers or people, but you still have to go as scheduled first. Voting is even easier. You just decide which party you want to be- either Democrat or Republican. You vote for Senates every 6 years, for House representatives every 2 years and for the President every 4 years (in November). Another reason that is good to be a citizen is that you will get a full benefit after retirement, especially from healthcare and social security.
The process to apply for citizenship is faster than before (about 5 months). The fee is up to $675, including the fee for fingerprint. You can check your status online. They will mail you a letter to inform you what to expect and to do. When all your document is complete, they will ask you to have finger printed. Then, you will have an appointment for interview. They provide a booklet and CD to study about U.S. history and government. They have 100 questions and answers for you to memorize, but they will ask you only 10 questions. You have to get 6 out of 10 questions correct. On the same day, you will have reading and writing exams. You have to write and read one out of 3 sentences correct. Sounds easy, huh, but some people fail due to anxiety or bad preparation. I'll have an interview next week and hopefully I'll pass it. I'll tell you other steps later. Keep your fingers cross for me.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

What are your titles?

It doesn't matter if they graduated a nursing program from a 2- or 4- year college, their title will be an RN (registered nurse) because they take the same NCLEX exam. They will also get the same rate of salary. However, they try to make themselves different from each other. One of the reasons is that they believe that nurses with BSN have a higher chance to advance their careers in nursing, such as becoming a supervisor, manager, or administrator. This is not always true because I have seen many RNs with ADN (associate degree in nursing) become supervisors or managers while several RNs with BSN prefer working as staff nurses. From my experience, the competency of nursing skills from those nurses with both degrees are the same because all new grads still need more training or orientation. When they feel more confident, the quality of care is about the same.
Another way to make RNs with BSN different from those with ADN is their titles. Both normally have an RN title after their name. For example, Jane Doe, RN. If Jane graduated from a 4- year college, her title would be RN, BSN. After 2 years of nursing experience, she took the exam from American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) in order to have a specialty in her area, her title would be RN-BC, BSN. If she decided to pursue higher education and finished a graduate nursing school, she would become Jane Doe, RN-BC,BSN, MSN. If she wanted to declare her specialty, such as family nurse practitioner (FNP) or clinical nurse specialist (CNS), this title would be after her MSN degree. At the time she finished her doctoral degree, she would become Jane Doe, RN-BC, BSN,MSN, FNP,Ph.D. I think all the titles are quite long and unnecessary, but this is the way most nurses prefer. I understand about RN-BC and FNP titles because they are very unique. But, if they have a MSN degree, we automatically assume that they already have their BSN, right? Or we can assume that she has a MSN degree before becoming a nurse practitioner. So, why do they still need BSN before MSN title and MSN before FNP? Will they look more professional? If I were Jane Doe, my titles would be only FNP and Ph.D. because the FNP title would indicate the specialty and the highest level of education for the doctoral degree. Any way, whatever they prefer, it is their choice.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Passing scores

The passing scores for immigration process.

TOEFL; Paper-based test - 540

Computer- based test- 207

TWE- 4.0

TSE- 50

TOEIC - 725

Additional tests : TWE and TSE ( 4.0 and 50 respectively)

IELTS - Overall 6.5 for the Academic module but a spoken band score has to be 7.0 or higher

From my experience, I took the TSE several times until I gave up and switched to the IELTS which I passed at the first try. For the TSE, you have to be with other people in the same room and try to speak to a microphone so that they can record your voice. The topics that they ask are too specific and gave you about a minute or less to think before recording your conversation. For example, they will give you pictures and ask you to tell the story from the beginning to the end. Another example is how to give direction from one place to another place. Another thing that I don't like about this test is that you have to talk at the same time with other people, so you have to speak loudly. You can be intimidated by other testers.

The spoken English test from the IELTS is different. You have an interview with a live person one on one. You may feel nervous, but an interviewer is normally nice and friendly. He or she just ask you questions from a list and let you talk to a tape recorder. The topics are more general, such as asking about what you think or see about your country. The style of questions might be changed because I had the test 7 years ago, but I think it will not be too hard for anyone. Just relax, calm, and do your best.

Monday, January 18, 2010

5 Things you have to do before being an RN

1. Graduate a nursing degree from a 4-year college
2. Pass the TOEFL, TOEIC or IELTS, including the spoken English test
3. Pass the CGFNS exam
4. Pass the NCLEX-RN exam
5. Find a hospital or a clinical setting to sponsor you for a green card
The CGFNS exam is optional for some states, especially in California. So, you should know where you want to work. It doesn't matter if you pass the English or nursing test first. If you pass the TOEFL exam first, you have 2 years to pass the nursing exam due to the expiration date. However, if you pass the NCLEX-RN exam first, you have only one year to pass the English test due to the immigration process.
Your nursing experience is not mandatory, but at least one year of working experience in nursing field is highly recommended because you would have a higher chance to get hired if any high competitions. I would recommend you to work in a special unit, such as ICU, RCU, dialysis, or OR, so that you learn how to use and operate instruments or equipments.
Looking for a sponsor is not difficult, but you have to call and find out. Some sponsors pay for all costs, but you may have to sign a contract (3-5 years). If they don't pay for the cost, they just sign the paperwork and you have to do all the rest. You can do on your own if you don't want to hire a lawyer to do it, but from my experience, I let my lawyer contact immigration and do all my paperwork until I got my green card. It is really a time saver. The lawyer fee depends on lawyer and location. I paid $2000 ten years ago, not including other expenses such as the application fee.
Many Thai nurses passed the nursing exam at the first try, so don't discourage yourself if you didn't pass it. A lot of contents you have to know, so the fastest way is to be familiar with the questions to know how they ask and think. Use one book that you think it is the best for you to study and understand. Review questions as many as you can. Your dream is not far away.
Good luck. :)