NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 5 – Thousands of students graduate from nursing schools in Kenya every year, but only a few are absorbed into the job market.
This is due to the scarcity of health facilities in the country that can absorb them to offer stable jobs to enable them to pursue their careers while serving the public.
This is particularly discouraging to those in colleges because of the uncertainty that faces them as they prepare to plunge into the field, in a crisis also affecting various other professional disciplines due to the job crisis in the country.
With this challenge, professionals are now opting out of the country to pursue their careers, including in nursing due to available opportunities abroad—including the United States of America, Canada, United Kingdom among others.
But what does it take for a Kenyan, fresh from college or one who has worked locally to fit into the competitive and highly rated foreign job market.
Judy Minage, the founder of Africa Trade Link and Expo (ATLE) says there is a major shortage of nurses in the international market and Africans should seize the opportunity.
Her organization focuses on linking Africans to jobs in the international market, by sharing information on the available opportunities and assists them on how to gain access and fit in.
Minage is a Psychotherapist, who has lived in the USA for 30 years, and now trains nurses on how to gain entry into the American system, among other services related to employment and trade.
Currently, the organization is recruiting nurses into the international market, with focus in the USA and Canada.
“If you are a registered nurse, you are able to get proper work visa as well as proper migrant visas that allow you and your family to migrate to these foreign countries for work,” she said in an interview with Capital FM News during a recent visit to her home country Kenya.
Minage however, admits that some requirements make it difficult for Africans to practice nursing in the international market.
First, she said, one must be a registered nurse by the nursing board, after which you have to pass the NCLEX and CGFNS examination, which she reckons, is not easy.
She said, most of the Kenyan nurses fail the NCLEX and CGFNS examination which is used to gauge their eligibility and miss out on that golden opportunity.
“You must pass the NCLEX and CGFNS exam so that you can obtain your work permit,” she says.
As a non-profitable organization, Minage says they come in to offer training and guidance to Kenyan nurses aspiring to work in the international market, and equip them with the necessary skills.
Minage insists that one must work hard to attain credible results as there is no shortcut to success in the US.
“Most Africans learn through memorization. This NCLEX examination is based on critical thinking skills that require you to learn how to read and comprehend the questions before answering. Most Africans don’t like to read and that’s why they fail in this exam,” she said.
The NCLEX and CGFNS exam is only offered in India.
One of their partners Vhealth international gives nurses an opportunity to pre-test before one decides to take the big step.
There are times when ill-prepared professionals in the industry decide to fly to India for such tests, only to fail and return home.
“The process can be tedious and frustrating but it is worth it. Spending a couple thousands of dollars to get your end benefit is worth it, you will be able to get five years’ salary in one month,” she says of the lucrative perks in the international job market.