The NYC Welcome Back Center provides comprehensive services to help internationally trained healthcare professionals rebuild their healthcare careers in New York State. Whether you are new to the process of obtaining your New York State license, need help reaching your healthcare career goals, or want to explore other options in healthcare, the NYC Welcome Back Center can assist you.
The NYC Welcome Back Center provides orientation, educational counseling, and support to internationally trained health professionals in a variety of ways. Through educational case management services, educational interventions, group activities, and referrals, the center assists internationally trained healthcare professionals in meeting their career goals in the U.S. For example, the NYC Welcome Back Center helps members develop a career pathway plan that builds on their healthcare background and experiences. In the process of receiving support in obtaining the appropriate professional credentials and licenses for their health professions, NYC Welcome Back members are also presented with other viable career alternatives to consider.
The NYC Welcome Back Center currently serves the following health professionals – nurses, physicians, dentists, pharmacists, physical therapists, psychiatrists, social workers, and clinical laboratory technicians – who currently live in the tri-state area: New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. In addition, potential members must have permission to work in the United States and must have been licensed in one of the above professions and/or completed a course of study in one of the above professions. The NYC Welcome Back Center services are provided in English and/or Spanish; whenever feasible, interpreters are used for speakers of other languages.
This is the first contact that a member has with the NYC Welcome Back Center. Qualified applicants are invited to attend an orientation and professional advisement session at the NYC Welcome Back Center. These sessions are organized by profession and explain the services of the NYC Welcome Back Center. At this phase, the NYC Welcome Back Center also collects basic personal information about the participant, as well as his or her educational and professional history including: post-high-school education, professional experience in the country of origin, certificates or degrees obtained in the U.S., work history in the U.S., English language proficiency level, psychosocial factors, reason for immigration, and motivation level.
Members then participate in a professional advisement session. This session explains the licensure process for New York State specific to the professional group attending. Information is given regarding steps to licensure, appropriate credential evaluation services and required testing and fees. Relevant professional websites are given so members can further explore local and national professional organizations in the United States as well as resources to help them prepare for the licensing examination. In addition, members will receive information regarding alternative careers connected to in the healthcare sector, potential job opportunities and referrals to local English as a Second language programs if needed.
After members attend the orientation and professional advisement session, members are instructed to investigate study the information given regarding the licensing process for their profession as well as information regarding alternative career options. Once members have decided which career choice is most feasible for them, members call the NYC Welcome Back Center to schedule a follow-up appointment with an educational case manager. Members meet individually with the Educational Case Manager, or have a phone meeting if more convenient, to assess their educational and professional goals, the steps they have taken to accomplish these goals, and the barriers they have encountered. Educational case managers assist participants as they pursue their goals in becoming licensed in their health profession, search for meaningful employment in the health sector, and possibly, explore an alternative career. In the process, educational case managers refer participants to appropriate educational and professional resources, as needed and develops a career pathway plan with the participant that builds on his or her education, skills, and experience. The educational case manager and participant will determine how often to meet (weekly, monthly, or quarterly). At a minimum, they meet every six months until participants exit the program. In the follow-up meetings, educational case managers provide assistance in a variety of areas, as needed, including:
• Procuring and filling out forms required for licensing agencies
• Applying for validation of credentials
• Researching schools that provide programs for different health professions
• Applying for relevant programs at community colleges or universities
• Applying for financial aid
• Identifying work and volunteer opportunities in the health sector that match a participant’s career goals
• Re-assessing and adjusting career pathway plan, as needed
The NYC Welcome Back Center provides educational interventions as needed. Examples of such educational interventions are the following:
• Referrals to NYC Welcome Back Center community partner organizations
• Local community workshops and professional development opportunities relevant to their profession such as Domestic Violence workshops for Social Workers and Psychologists.
• Basic Cardiac and Life Support workshops for nurses and physicians
• Educational case managers help link participants with appropriate community college and university programs for different health careers, including the respective counseling and financial aid offices.
• NCLEX LPN exam preparation
• Conversation groups
The NYC Welcome Back Center plans various group activities to further expose participants to educational and career opportunities, as well as to bring immigrant health professionals with similar backgrounds together. Such activities have included a Health Career Job Fair to familiarize participants with health career programs at local community colleges and universities, and group events by profession to review licensing processes, explore job opportunities available in the social service and health sector without a license requirement, and prepare for licensing exams. These group activities also provide participants with valuable opportunities for peer networking with other foreign-trained health professionals from different countries and, whenever feasible, peer mentoring.
The NYC Welcome Back Center also provides members access to useful resources in U.S. health care through their lending libraries. For example, participants are able to borrow NCLEX exam preparation materials or job search books for the fastest growing health professions in the U.S.
Discharge is defined as the point when a participant accomplishes the goals established in his or her career pathway plan or when a participant no longer needs the services provided by Welcome Back.