It means: "Norway thinks Emily's 4 year nursing degree from a private liberal arts college with Norwegian ties and 14 years of work experience isn't good enough to work in Norway as a nurse". That's what it means.
Ok, deep breath. It is actually the "Norwegian Registration Authority for Health Personnel" (known as SAFH), and I have been waiting to hear from them for the last 3 months. I spent several months this fall preparing two very fat, thorough applications for both a nursing license and a midwife license. For any American nurse who might be attempting this in the future, I will provide for you a list of what I included in my nursing application, and note: every copy must be a certified copy:
- copy of US Passport
- Professional resume
- copy of college diploma
- 3 page detailed course curriculum description of undergraduate nursing classes, prepared by my college, not by me (as requested by SAFH)
- college academic transcript
- letter documenting NCLEX-RN results
- RN license verification
- copy of UT RN license
- copy of NH RN license
- copy of VT RN license
- work testimonial from Utah
- job description from first RN job as a nurse in a highly specialized and respected Newborn Intensive Care Unit at a Children's hospital, where I worked for 5 years (oooh, bitterness coming out)
- 33 pages of certificates documenting Continuing Education seminars for the last 8 years (yikes!)
So, this is what SAFH responded with, and thankfully, there is an appeal process:
1) my degree is shorter than a Norwegian nurses education. They are educated for 3 years, and they claim I was educated for 2. Obviously, they did not understand that my nursing education was in fact 4 years. I also did not include any of my graduate school nursing education in my nursing application, as I included that in the midwife application, but that is an additional two years.
2) They claim that my work experience does not make up for my lack of education, especially since my work experience was with babies. They failed to recognize that I also worked as an RN with women for 3 years in Labor and Delivery.
3) That I must complete the following practical student experiences: 6 weeks in psychiatry, 8 weeks in med/surg, and 8 weeks in adult nursing.
4) A 3 week foreign-nurses course (knew about that one, so I wasn't surprised)
5) Must take the nursing exam!
I am not ashamed to say that I cried for hours after receiving this letter and painstakingly translating the 4 pages of information. There are so many reasons why it just plain old sucks so much. It sucks to be told we don't think you're good enough. I feel like I had a top-notch education, and had even more impressive work experience, so that is really hard to swallow. I am also rather embarrassed (but will admit to you, dear readers, because that it what I am here for) that I had this arrogant Pro-America attitude swell up inside of me, and I felt like screaming, "Who do you think you are?? I'm from the f*@%ing United States of America! You can't do this to me!" But, you know what? They are doing it to me. And this American feels like I was punched in the gut.
It also just sucks because now I feel like we were really naive coming here, just assuming because I'm a midwife, they use midwives. We have similar educations and responsibilities that everything would be easy, smooth-sailing, and I'd have a job in no time. All I have to do is learn Norwegian. It's as easy as that! And I feel like, all I'm asking for is permission to work! Don't you see, Norway? I'm trying to lend you my skills and experience! Stop making it so difficult to contribute to your society! And honestly, now I feel like we're stuck! We're here. We uprooted our entire family, home, possessions under this false assumption that I, too, could work and continue to further my career. I think that's what hurts the most.
A friend asked: What's your Plan B? Well, I'll submit an appeal, after consulting with a number of people, and include more information about my years of education and work experience, and I'll dig a little deeper and try to find information about student summer work experiences I did with adults and med/surg patients. . .
In the meantime, I'm in a language class. I don't know enough Norwegian to do any of those clinical assignments anyway, so I might as well keep crawling forward. Maybe something will work out in the meantime, maybe not. Will I do a half years worth of nursing clinicals, to prove my worth, only to then take a nursing exam, and then and only then be able to submit my midwife application, when who knows what will be denied or questioned or refused with my midwife education and 6 years of experience?
I don't know. I just don't know.