Internationally Educated Nurses in the United States: Their Origins and Roles


Joanne Spetz, Michael Gates, Cheryl B. Jones

June 28, 2013

Despite the importance of the internationally educated nurse (IEN) workforce, there has been little research on the employment settings of IENs and other aspects of their employment. We analyzed data from the 2008 National Sample Survey of Registered Nurses to characterize IENs in the United States using descriptive statistics and multivariate ordinary least squares regression. We find notable differences in the decade of immigration, current age, and highest nursing education across the countries in which IENs were educated. IENs are more likely to be employed in nursing and to work full-time. They receive higher total annual earnings and earn higher average hourly wages. However, when demographic, human capital, and employment characteristics are held constant, IENs from every country except Canada earn no more than U.S.-educated nurses. Future research should seek to identify the causes of these employment and earnings differences to understand the role and impact of the IEN workforce.

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