So far, the number of foreign nurses in Rhode Island is small. Of the 20,553 nursing licenses, only 79 belong to foreign-trained nurses, some of whom probably have not yet arrived. Rhode Island Hospital’s 20 foreign nurses work among 1,800 bedside nurses at the hospital.
But, here as elsewhere, the trend is clearly growing — held in check, at least for now, by limits on the number of visas the State Department will give out. Rhode Island Hospital has offered jobs to 133 additional foreign nurses who are waiting for visas. Kent Hospital has 26 foreign nurses “on the way.”
Nationwide, 12 percent of those who took the qualifying exam for a nursing license last year were educated overseas.