Recognizing the Role of Internationally Trained Health Workers Beyond COVID-19

Fatima Sanz and Victoria Francis
Date of Publication: 
December, 2021
Source Organization: 
World Education Services

This short paper discusses the potential role that internationally trained health care workers could play in easing labor shortages in the health care industry. Already residing in the U.S., many are underemployed, unemployed, or working outside their field of training because of state licensing “requirements that are onerous, time-consuming, expensive, and in some cases unrelated to their area of specialty and competency.” The paper provides a summary of efforts undertaken by six states during the COVID-19 pandemic to relax these requirements. The authors argue that state officials should build on these short-term initiatives by “consider(ing) the unique circumstances of immigrants and refugees.” For example, requiring clinical experience within the last five years for licensure would not work for refugees, who on average spend ten years in displacement before admission to the U.S.  The authors believe it would be wise for state officials to secure advice from leaders of immigrant communities on how to open up licensing opportunities for foreign-trained health care professionals.

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Sanz, F. & Francis, V. (2021). Recognizing the Role of Internationally Trained Health Workers Beyond COVID-19. WES Global Talent Bridge