New Rules

Are you up-to-date on the new rules? All RNs have a decade to get their B.S. in Nursing if they don’t have one yet. Many are going back to school now! http://www.nj.com/education/2013/12/new_rules_require_veteran_nurs.html

New Graduates – Heed My Advice

Remember when we were all children and our aunts and uncles and grandparents would all ask us, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Most of the adults followed the question with an ambiguous statement: “You can be anything you want to be.” This is not entirely false, but to a child, this statement sounds like there’s some magic occupation wand that you stand in front of when you’re older; declare you want to be a superhero, and then POOF! You’re a crime fighting cyborg impervious to bullets and rockets.

 

Maybe my ambitions as a child were somewhat different from yours, but the point here is that when we’re told we can be whatever we want to be, the adults conveniently leave out all it takes to achieve our goals, all the hard work involved, and the fact that as we mature, our personalities may lead to different roads in the career path. Very few can say they followed their ambitions as a child and became what we told adults we wanted to be.

 

I’ll spoil my story for you; I’m not a crime fighting cyborg.

 

But, you’ve made it this far, completed all the educational requirements, got your degree and now you’re faced with another challenge: the job interview. YIKES!

 

It can be tough to predict the questions you’ll hear during the job interview, but in the healthcare field, there are a lot of likely questions that are typically geared towards new graduates you can prepare yourself for.

 

  1. Landing the job interview.

Frequently, new graduates experience tremendous difficulty in even being considered for a job. When facilities obtain your resume, they quickly recognize that you’re a new graduate and they’ll put your resume to the side in favor of someone who has experience. It’s prudent to make yourself known on a more proactive level, and maintain persistency. On a weekly basis, plan a route to visit facilities in person to drop off your resume instead of emailing it. Ask the receptionist who you need to speak with at the facility to discuss employment opportunities, and if that person is unavailable, revisit the facility the following week and ask to speak with that person again. You’ll be turned away quite often, but don’t be discouraged; eventually the right people will take notice of your persistency.

 

  1. Facility concerns.

The bottom line is: all facilities are worried about longevity. How long will they be able to retain you as an employee? Usually, healthcare facilities are not open to the idea of accepted a new graduate because of concern about spending valuable resources to train personnel that may result in wasted effort once you’ve been exposed to the true nature of the job and decide that this isn’t what you had expected. Make it known in your interview that you have a ‘never quit’ attitude, that you’re eager to fulfill the employers’ expectations of a model employee, and that you can easily adapt to changes in your environment.

 

  1. What made you decide to pursue healthcare?

This is a question commonly asked, and the most common answer is: “I like helping people.” While this isn’t the wrong answer, there’s probably a better one, or at least a more euphemistic one. As a new graduate, there are hundreds of others with the same credentials giving the same answer for the same position. What makes you stand out? Dig down and find out what really made you want this particular career. There’s something unique to you personally that encouraged this endeavor. Tell the story in as much detail as possible.

 

  1. What do you know about the facility?

Any employer is always impressed when the interviewees knows a bit about the company. Do your homework. Find out how long the facility has been open for, how many beds there are, how many units, and the track record of the facility during state reviews.

 

  1. Educational background.

This isn’t necessarily something that you should spend too much time on, but it’s important to discuss what challenges you experienced in school, and the steps you took to overcome these challenges. This will show your discipline, something every employer wants to see.

 

  1. Make yourself available.

Healthcare is a 24 hour job, and if you lay down the law and limit what shifts you’ll be willing to work, the facility will have no interest in you. At the same time, you don’t want to appear too desperate by telling them you’re available “whenever”. Tell them your preferences, but make it known that you’re anxious to take on the challenges of any hour and that you’re in an ideal position personally to offer flexibility with scheduling.

 

 

The first job you’re offered may not be exactly what you had in mind when you started going to school, but the most important aspect of your professional profile that you’re currently missing is experience. By all means, you shouldn’t jump at the first opportunity either. Make sure you feel comfortable with what you’ve already been exposed to with the facility. Once you’ve gained at least a year of experience, many doors will open up to you and you’ll be well on your way towards following the career path you initially had in mind.

 

Sincerely,

 

Jesse Rose

Meridian’s Open House Event

Meridian's Open House Event

Refreshments will be served

Visa Retrogression – What does it mean to professional immigrant workers?

Before June of this year, there were two major visa categories that are popular among professional immigrant workers: the H1b Visa aka work visa and EB2 or the greencard route.

H1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US employers to temporarily employ professional foreign workers in specialty occupations. On the other hand, EB2 Visa is a permanent residency route for professionals holding advanced degrees (Ph.D., master’s degree, or at least five years of progressive post-baccalaureate experience) or persons of exceptional ability in sciences, arts, or business.

Unfortunately, the USCIS has announced that the 2013 H-1B visa cap has been reached as of June 11th. Any cases received after June 11th will be rejected and returned with filing fees uncashed. However, the rejected and would-be applicants may file again next fiscal year. The next blow is that the July 2012 visa bulletin shows that the ‘worldwide EB2′ visa category has retrogressed almost 3 years. This is the one category that remained consistently ‘current’ in recent years (together with EB1).

What happens now?

Photo from http://redbus2us.com. Edited by author.

For more information about RETROGRESSION, click this link.

For USCIS Visa Bulletin, click here.

What does RETROGRESSION mean to professional immigrant workers and their employers? This could mean long waiting times for green cards.  This means job employment offers need to be rewritten or  projects be off-shored.  In uncertain cases such as this, not much can be done than to persevere and tuck growing disappointment. There are surely other legal routes to continue working in America while hoping that these two visas will be available again soon.

US immigration system is not ideal and reform is essential to ensure Uncle Sam does not lose talented people to help boost the economy and create jobs.Right now, all that is left to do is wait. Let us see what the future has in store.

SOURCE: http://www.uscis.gov

Disclaimer: This is a post written from a layman’s perspective and should not be regarded as an immigration advice.  For valid legal advice, consult an immigration lawyer.

Healthcare – Online Application Form

Talk to a job counselor about your career options. Simply fill out this form. Explore your options and develop your career plan for free!

You may also email your resume to jobs@meridiannurse.com

H1-B Nurses to US – from guerreroyee.com

via LinkedIn

Nursing is fast becoming another “profession-in-transition” in U.S. immigration law parlance. It is not unlike the transition that the physical therapy industry experienced this past decade – when a master’s degree officially became the minimum education standard for entry into the profession.But, again like the physical therapy industry, the initial years of this transition will require compelling arguments from the petitioning employer to convince U.S.

A recent New York State bill sponsored by Democratic Assemblyman Joseph Morelle, Republican Senator James Alesi and other legislators seeks to further professionalize nursing in the state. Specifically, registered nurses would have to earn a baccalaureate degree in nursing (BSN) within ten years to continue working in the state. It does not require nurses who seek to enter the profession to hold a BSN now in order to obtain licensure, however they will have to obtain a BSN within 10 years once licensed.

The bill is a result of the national movement to increase the minimum education standards for nurses. The U.S. nursing community appears split on this issue. While many nurses are lobbying against the bill’s passage, a great many others in the nursing community champion the overall increase in minimum education standards.

The “bachelor’s of science degree in nursing within ten years” movement – known as the “BSN in 10” initiative is supported by health care organizations and nursing associations. It seeks to resolve a significant concern in the industry. Specifically, while the U.S. baby-boomer population ages and creates an explosion in the demand for elder care providers, there are not enough qualified nurses to meet that demand.

Presently, most registered nurses (RNs) hold only an associate’s degree. Incredibly, there is no state that actually requires a BSN as a minimum education level to enter the profession. But any nurse or other health care professional familiar with this occupation will quickly attest to the need for specialized knowledge and skills to perform many of the complex duties demanded in the profession today.

There is no debate regarding the rampant shortage of qualified nurses in the U.S. to care for the existing and growing population. This problem has persisted for decades. Unfortunately, the U.S. labor market has been unable to resolve this problem. Workers and students have recognized the career opportunities in nursing and are entering this profession. But even with this influx of U.S. workers, nearly all in the industry agree that a severe nursing shortage will persist unless more foreign nurses are authorized to work in the U.S. because attrition and a high burn out rate are inherent in the profession.

Foreign nurses are permitted to reside and practice their profession in the U.S. through a limited number of temporary work visas and permanent immigrant visas (m/c/k/a “green cards”) whose availability remains scarce. But if this bill succeeds, there will be a surge in the number of foreign nurses entering the New York State nursing profession, because many of them already have their BSNs or the equivalent. At present, there are thousands of overseas nurses desirous of coming to the U.S. to practice their profession. However, the lack of a BSN minimum education requirement and the current U.S. immigration law prohibits all but a select few foreign nurses to achieve from achieving this goal.

The BSN minimum education requirement and the resulting customs and practices of certain employers in New York State should allow a greater number of foreign nurses holding a BSN in nursing or foreign degree/work experience equivalency to secure H-1B temporary work visas through a petitioning employer. This would be a welcome result for the New York State healthcare system and the countless foreign nurses and their families who wish to immigrate to the U.S.

Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that a BSN is, in fact, required for the nursing position sought to be filled by the foreign nurse. Such arguments must be artfully crafted and carefully articulated by the lawyers building the case. But if presented properly, ultimately, USCIS must follow the industry and the employer’s standards, allowing foreign nurses to more easily immigrate to and work in New York state and the U.S.

Please feel free to ask any questions, comment, or request more information in the Comments Box below. Also, please forward this blog article to anyone who may be interested.

Rio M. Guerrero, Esq.
rio@guerreroyee.com

Immigration Woes of a Physical Therapist – Inquirer.Net

Happiness 2011

By: 

 

What would make me happy?

A great job?

A hot boyfriend?

A fulfilling relationship?

A brand-new car?

Travel around the world?

Or just getting along better with myself?

What is happiness all about?

There’s no universally accepted definition of what happiness is. To some, it’s free, to others it may costmillions of pesos. Happiness comes in different forms.

My project for 2011 was to find its meaning, and I was convinced I knew exactly what I needed to achieve it.

I like making time frames, planning ahead and setting goals. I do this on a daily, monthly and yearly basis.  I would list down the things that I need to do every day and I put a check mark on each once I’m done with it, and it gives me a sense of accomplishment.

For 2011, I had a long list of expectations and goals, and little did I know that one would turn into an obsession…

I got obsessed with my American dream.

If only there are better career opportunities here in the Philippines for physical therapists, I would prefer to just stay and be with my family. To work there one has to go through a long, cumbersome process and to take the state board exam which is given only in the United States. A few nightmares we have to go through are: “credentialing” to make sure our education is equivalent to US standards; passing the English exam; and getting a US visa.

I had been working on this for quite some time, and I was hoping that I could make it happen in 2011. I said to myself that if I made it, I would be truly happy. I got close to achieving this goal, so close that I could almost taste it.

But life is truly unpredictable, there are certain things that are beyond our control. Some decisions are not ours to make.

Despite everything I did, I wasn’t able to leave. This made me feel so frustrated, I felt like the universe was treating me unfairly.

So the waiting game continues to this day.

It was March when I was told by my agency to wait for six more months. Six months felt like forever, I consoled myself by saying I’ll get by, I’ll just make the most during the “waiting period.” But six months turned to seven, then nine. To make a long story short, it has been approximately four years (and still counting) of waiting since I was told to wait for six more months.

The waiting game made me feel insane!  I got feelings of anxiety and impatience. I blamed the universe for playing tricks on me. I felt like a lollipop has been dangled in front of me only to be cruelly taken away just as I reached out for it. I quietly prayed to God and asked for answers.  “Lord I thought you want me to be happy, but why is this happening?  But whatever it is, Lord, I trust you, I know you have better plans for me.”

After the phone call I had from my agency telling me about another “delay,” I wanted to cry, but my three-year-old niece gave me a tight warm hug which made me feel better.

During the waiting period, I did a lot of stuff just to keep my mind from my frustrations. I would offer to babysit my adorable niece and nephew at my brother’s new home (they recently moved to the Philippines from Singapore). I spent more time with my family. I also went back to the review center and met amazing people and new friends. I was able to enjoy running again and joined my brother and some friends in a couple of fun runs. I got into yoga and enjoyed it beyond my expectations. And I was able to do a lot of reading, caught up with my favorite TV programs and movies.  I was able to play the guitar and sing again. I had more “me” time (thank you for the amazing online deals that I was able to get for myself and the pampering that I needed). I was able to sort out my cluttered thoughts, which enabled me to write this.

Year 2011 was all about waiting, and during this period, I realized that I found the happiness I have been looking for.  My family, my friends, my newfound interests, the good weather, an appreciation from patients thanking me for somehow making them feel better are just some of the countless things that made me happy in the year past. I learned about faith-based optimism, to let go of expectations and my obsession about achieving a specific goal at a particular time. I also learned that it’s good to plan and to be optimistic about your plans, but no matter how hard a person plans something, if it is not the right time, it won’t happen.

I do have plans, but it is God’s plan that will prevail in the end. This waiting period has given me the opportunity to understand what I really want, and to realize that some dreams would not necessarily give me the happiness that I am looking for.

Like what most people say, a flower will grow and bloom on its own good time. There’s no need to give it a deadline. If it’s not growing as fast as we want to, we just have to trust Mother Nature. For a beautiful flowerto bloom, it has to have enough water and sunlight. We can always trust a flower to bloom, but we cannot guarantee the precise moment when it will spread its petals. So is trusting God, He knows what is best for us, and we can always complement our hard work and determination with prayers.

Happiness is like a switch; when to turn it on or off is within our control, we just have to know where the switch is. It is something that we don’t wait to happen, it is something that we do. It doesn’t wait on time, it is not something that waits for the future. We just have to open up and let it in.

I celebrated New Year’s Eve with my loved ones and I can say that my search for happiness has been a real success. I am looking forward to more reasons to be happy in 2012.  I will continue to pursue my dreams and finish what I have already started but this time, with a hopeful and happy heart because I believe that happiness leads to success, not the other way around. Success is the icing on the cake, the cherry on top of the ice cream, a bonus to my already awesome life.

 

Aina, 29, is a freelance physical therapist. She wrote this piece last New Year’s Eve, while looking back to year 2011.

Immigration Counsel and HR Departments

The genesis of much of the successful work produced by our law firm originates from a company’s human resources (HR) director or department. A company’s HR department may have a prospective employee, or a current employee, for whom an immigration matter has arisen that must be resolved in order to begin or continue lawful employment. Typically, an HR associate or director asks us what information we need to build a winning case before U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

A client’s HR department will call or email our firm asking whether a prospective (or current) employee possesses the correct work authorization documentation. Do they have the correct non-immigrant visa status in place? There is an alphabet soup of visa options – such as H, E, L, O, P, TN, etc. – available to foreign nationals seeking authorization to work in the U.S. Or, do they have a currently valid employment authorization document (EAD)? An EAD is commonly issued to persons who are in the process of applying for U.S. lawful permanent resident status, more commonly known as “green card” status. There are other situations whereby a foreign national may obtain an EAD.

When initially analyzing any potential employment-based visa matter, immigration attorneys consider three vital components:

The Employer

At a minimum, USCIS is typically concerned with two issues regarding a prospective sponsoring employer:

  • the legitimacy of the employer’s business operations; and
  • its ability to pay whatever the minimum wage or salary may be required for a particular position.

The Position

USCIS is also focused upon the position offered:

  • Is this a specialty occupation job or a professional job?
  • Considering the particular industry at issue, what is the minimum education and work experience required?
  • Are there other specific requirements for this position such as licenses, languages, credentialing, security clearances or certifications?
  • Does this position customarily exist for similar employers in this industry?

The Employee

  • If there is a minimum of education and/or work experience required for the position, has the individual met it/them?
  • Has the individual met any licensure, language, etc. minimum requirements?
  • Is the individual in the country legally, and if yes:
    Is their immigration status adequate for the position, or can it be changed easily to a visa status that will authorize employment for this position?
  • Will they have to travel outside of the country in order to make any necessary visa status change?
  • Does the individual have any derogatory immigration or criminal history?
  • Does the individual have any immediate family who wish to accompany him/her in the U.S.?

Generally, these three components are the focus of our initial analysis and a helpful starting point for our HR colleagues. Every case is unique, no matter how it may appear similar to another. From the outset, it is important for HR and immigration counsel to work together – asking the right questions and procuring the vital documentation to properly analyze a matter and develop a winning strategy.

Immigration Counsel and HR Departments | Guerrero Yee LLP – The Immigration Specialists | Share on LinkedIn.

Growing Up … and Old Without Nursing Homes

In modern and busy US and most European countries there are numerous nursing homes, adult-care facilities and assisted living centers whose primary goal is to care and provide the best living conditions for the elderly or disabled patients whose skills for daily living have greatly depreciated either by old age or prolonged illness. The nursing homes or Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNFs) employ healthcare professionals such as nurses, licensed practical nurses, nurse assistants, therapists and many others that work hand-in-hand in caring for the patients 24/7.

The situation is exactly the opposite in the Philippines and many other third world nations where economies aren’t humming as fast as America and Europe. Nursing homes are simply not the status quo for many reasons. Foremost reason is that these countries, like the Philippines, has a culture that expects the kin and a huge extended family to care for their elderly.  Just as parents are expected to provide for the children and make sure they have the best education possible, the children/grandchildren are expected by society to ‘give back’ by taking care of their parents in their twilight years. Traditionally, one person in the family is designated to care for the parents. A daughter is expected to care for both parents in their senior years, thus oftentimes ending up a matron. This was a practice that was probably brought to the Philippines by the Spanish conquistadores who were in the country for more than 300 years or for some other countries such as the Trinidad, India, Haiti, Caribbean Islands, Guyana, etc… simply an old-age tradition that just wouldn’t go away.

Click here for a video clip of the critically acclaimed book-film Like Water for Chocolate that required the protagonist to undergo such practice of requiring a member of the family to care for the parent/s.

In modern times, when the children started working abroad and inevitably leave the parents at home, they will setup a living arrangement for a distant relative to care for their ailing parents in exchange for lodging and minimal financial support. The more affluent ones will hire  professional nurses that manage the daily needs of the elderly patient. The goal is for the old folks to remain comfortably cared for in their own homes as they await their final days.

Historically, there was an exodus of foreign healthcare professional since the 1960s to the early part of the 1990s. The nurses and therapists were petitioned as either immigrant or on work visas by hospitals and for the most part, nursing homes. When they came to American shores, these new workers expected to be assigned at hospitals and other similar short-term care facilities. Little did they know that a lot of them will be performing jobs that is second nature to them — caring for geriatric patients.

Click here to view a Philippine McDonald’s commercial showing a granddaughter caring for her grandfather with Alzheimer’s condition. Subtitles are included.

Rehabilitation Professionals Apply Now