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CALIFORNIA will become the first state in the nation to limit the number of hospital patients assigned to each nurse under regulations proposed by Governor Gray Davis.

The new rules ultimately would prohibit hospitals from assigning a nurse to more than five patients in a large hospital units devoted to patients recovering from surgery and serious illnesses. That’s half the number typically assigned in many facilities, and half what the hospital industry has proposed.

The proposed standards also limit emergency rooms to one trauma pediatric nurse to four children and one obstetrics nurse to two mothers. This means “several thousand new nurses must be employed to meet these requirements.”

The department of Labor has determined that there are some job occupations in which there is a chronic shortage of workers, one of which is nursing. Nurses who had passed the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) examination or possess an unrestricted license to practice nursing in the state in which they intend to work are eligible to seek a Schedule A Labor certification.

The effect of the Schedule A classification is that the position is “pre-certified” and no application needs to be filed with the Department of Labor. Instead, the ETA 750 and the immigration worker petition can be filed directly with the Service.

Further, the registered nurse must pass an English oral and written examination (TOEFL).

Based on the Secretary of Health and Human Services, a registered nurse must obtain at least the following scores on the TOEFL 540 (paper-based) or 207 (computer based): Test of Written English 4.0. Test of Spoken English 50; or MELAB final score 79 oral score 3+.

Registered nurses who would like to take the NCLEX exam can contact the Nursing State Board Information at the Board of Nursing, 400 R Street, Ste. 4030, Sacramento, CA 95814, tel. no. (916) 322-3350. Written requests may be sent to P.O. Box 944210, Sacramento, CA 94244-2110. Attention: Application Request Unit. The process of obtaining the permanent license takes 4 to 5 months to process. Transcripts from the Philippines must be sent in a sealed envelope and mailed directly from the School to the Nursing State Board.

If the RN is applying from outside the United States and is a native of one of the ten selected countries (including Canada, China and the Philippines), the INS first sends the approved visa petition to the National Visa Center (NVC) in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. If there is no backlog for immigrant visas from the RN’s native country (her priority date is “current”), the NVC forwards a packet to the nurse or her attorney containing biographical information forms to be completed by her and her family members, and a list of   documents which must be presented at her interview for permanent residence.

The RN, or her attorney, sends the signed and completed forms to the U.S. consulate where the nurse will have her interview for permanent residence. At this interview, the nurse must present various documents, including the following:

a)       Application for Immigrant Visa

b)       Police Clearance

c)       Birth Certificate

d)       Marriage Certificate, if any

e)       Divorce or Death Certificate of Spouse, if any

f)        Valid Passport

g)       Medical Examination

h)       Photographs

i)         Recent job offer letter

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