Celebrating 15 years of international nursing

Carle continues to be one of the most utilized care providers in east central Illinois with a service area population of more than 1.3 million community members. In 2004 the organization began to think of more strategic ways to ensure the nursing staff necessary to meet the need was properly supported – international recruitment.


When Mylah Balanay became interested in the opportunity of putting her more than 14 years of administrative and bedside nursing skills to use abroad, she was excited to learn about how much support a hospital in Illinois had to offer.


“My goal was to find an employer that would give me the opportunity to bring my family abroad and would thoroughly assist us in the process of transitioning. Being a mother of two young kids, my mindset was to take them abroad with me as I face a new journey in achieving my ultimate dream—to improve my craft, to enhance my knowledge and to mold my expertise as a nurse in the U.S.,” said Balanay.

Mylah Balanay and family

Mylah Balanay and family

Mylah Balanay and family

Mylah Balanay and team at Carle

The Carle international nursing strategy became a major pillar behind the organization’s approach to maintaining critical staffing needs. The option was gaining in popularity at the time nationally because of the interest from global nurses for improved working conditions and wages with increased domestic need as tenured nurses began phasing out of the workforce. Nursing leadership was excited about the opportunity to bring in this viable staffing solution.


 “We have been able to recruit experienced international nurses that have been acclimated to the United States and nursing practice in the U.S. by the recruiting company making the transition smoother. The nurses have been very successful and a great addition to our nursing team,” said Chief Nursing Officer and Senior Vice President Pam Bigler.


For Balanay and many international nurses, there are a lot of contributing factors to finding success when moving abroad to continue a career in healthcare in addition to better working conditions and higher wages.


“I remember saying to myself, this employer is exactly what I was looking for,” said Balanay. “During my transition here at Carle, I felt well taken care of. Everyone was warm and welcoming. We were also provided with a three-month housing accommodations, which was a huge help in terms of getting settled in initially. Most importantly, Carle gave us a vast and thorough orientation.”


Since the start of the initiative, Carle has recruited nurses from seven different countries around the world. Currently, there are 46 international nurses serving patients in Carle health system locations across east central Illinois.  


“The thought of working in a foreign country far from my homeland was honestly a bit scary. I considered it a huge change in my personal life but a big leap in my professional life. But with my family alongside me and a wonderful employer accompanying me in this new journey, the transition was not so difficult after all. I’ve never had regrets. I found myself a new home in Illinois and a great work family at Carle,” said Balanay.

Exemplary Professional Practice
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