International Nurses


Why International Nurses Need Evaluation by CGFNS.














The Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) is a body that

works with other health professionals in the United States to evaluate the credentials

of nurses and other health professionals, who have been trained outside the country.


When I planned to migrate to the States, I’d never heard of this body until I arrived.

I remember looking for my first job as a Registered Nurse.

I met with the hospital Nurse Director, bringing all my certificates and degrees in a large brown envelope.

She needed nurses and wanted to give me the job, but when she looked at my paper work, it seemed foreign to her.


She asked where Kenya was and I told her that was where I trained.

On hearing that, she told me that since I was trained outside the country, she could

not give me the job unless I was evaluated by CGFNS.

At that time I wondered why I had to go through this body, but over time I came to understand and appreciate what they do.

In this article, I want us to focus on why this body is important.


  • Why CGFNS?

CGFNS is an important body because it protects the public by ensuring that nurses who attend nursing schools outside the country are well-trained and qualified.

This is not to say that other countries do not have well-trained nurses but simply ensures that, as professionals, they are on the same page.


  •  Recommendations

Prior to coming to the States, I took four years studying at Cicely McDonnell Nursing School back in Kenya.

I sent my paperwork to CGFNS, and they compared the education I received in Kenya, course by course, to the American nurses’ education.

After carefully examining my credentials, the body forwarded their recommendations to my state’s Board of Nursing.

(They will forward their recommendations to whatever state you are living in when you file for your application)


The Board of Nursing then recommended that I repeat my Psychology rotation,

as I had not done enough clinical hours as a student nurse per their evaluation.

I enrolled in a college and did one semester of Psychology rotation.

This was the beginning of my journey toward working in America as a nurse.

If you are an international nurse, this is probably the place you will begin before you can get a job in the states.

For more information about this body, you can Google them at CGFNS International.





Passing the Test for English as a Foreign Language.

English Test


As an international nurse, one of the tests that the board of nursing will expect you to take before you get licensed to work in the United States is the Test for English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).

This test measures your use and understanding of the English language at a college level.

The test was developed to address the problem of ensuring English language proficiency for people who do not speak English on a daily basis or as a native language.

Your aim is to get the highest score that you can. The board of nursing will evaluate you according to your score. They set the score that is acceptable. If they feel that you did not perform well enough, they will ask you to retake the exam.

The score is only valid for two years. If you pass and wait for longer than two years to do your NCLEX exam, you will be required to redo the test as your scores will have expired.


  • Format

The preferred format nowadays is the internet-based test (IBT).

When I did my test in 2002, I did the paper-based test. It is rarely used now but is still accepted in some areas.


  • Sections

The test consists of four different sections. Each section measures a basic skill in the English language.

1. Reading

You are expected to read a given passage and answer the questions asked afterwards.

You do not need prior knowledge to the discussion.

2. Speaking

You are expected to answer questions on a given familiar topic. You are evaluated on your ability to speak spontaneously.

Most people get very nervous with this section. Just stay calm and imagine that you are talking to a friend. When you are nervous, you can panic, which may cause you to talk very fast and not make much sense.

3. Listening

You listen to a conversation and then answer questions about what you heard.

You are tested on your ability to understand the main ideas being discussed.


Click on this guide for more information.





4. Writing

You will be presented with a passage to read. After that, you are asked to write a summary of the important points.


  • Preparation

You really want to aim at scoring over 90.

If you studied English at a University level, you may not need too much preparation aside from being confident and taking your time during the exam to understand what is being asked. This also depends on whether or not you come from a background where you speak a lot of English.
If you did not study English at a university level and you come from a background where you do not speak English regularly, you will need to prepare for the test.

If you are a very nervous person, preparation for the test will give you more confidence.

There are many programs online to help you prepare and support you.

For more information about this test you can go to:

International Nursing Recruitment Agencies


The following are nurse recruitment agencies for international nurses that offer jobs based in America.



This is an international consulting firm specialized in licensing, certification, credentialing, endorsements

and required immigration processes for work in the United States and Canada.

See their website to learn more:



  • Direct Source Healthcare

This is an international recruitment and placement company for healthcare professionals.

For more see:


  • Pacific Link healthcare

This company requires foreign nurses pass the examination of CGFNS and NCLEX-RN

To learn more see:



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