Recruiting RNs from The Philippines


Chicago Methodist Senior Services (CMSS) is a smaller “virtual“ CCRC (many of the components of a traditional CCRC in properties located within a tight radius) on Chicago’s north side with 300 employees. As with many CCRCs and care centers, president and CEO Bill Lowe realized that CMSS needed more registered nurses (RN) for their growing subacute work and that the projected supply of nurses, coupled with a wave of retirements, would exacerbate the shortage.


In 2005, CMSS established a recruitment company through their parent, United Methodist Homes and Services, and built a service to recruit nurses from the Philippines. Today, 100%—all 30 of their system’s nurses—have come through the program. CMSS expects 25-30 Filipino nurse recruits to move to the U.S. soon but they need only 4 to 5 internally at this point. As a result, they have chosen to work with selected nonprofit organizations to match their trained nurses with the employment needs of colleague organizations.


As recruitment is highly regulated in both the U.S. and in the Philippines, CMSS needed to navigate the intricacies. To enter the U.S. workforce, Philippine nurses must secure an EB-3 VISA, which takes about 7 years, as the number of visas is limited. Building a pipeline of nurses has been the key to the program’s success.

When the nurses finally arrive in the U.S., CMSS meets them at the airport, helps them apply for their social security cards, provides at least 2 months of free housing, and warmly embraces them as valued employees. Some nurses come on their own, while others come with family.

Have the results been worth the effort? “Absolutely,” says Lowe. “RNs from the Philippines are really well-trained. They must obtain a 4-year bachelor's degree and successfully complete a one-year internship before they are licensed. Plus, they show up wanting to succeed. Our plan is to continue this program as long as we can.”


  • After such a long wait to come to the U.S., the nurses are eager to get started in their new jobs.
  • More than 90% have stayed for a 3-year commitment and others have stayed longer.
  • CMSS has seen an improvement in both their state surveys and CMS star rating.

Need more information? Contact Bill Lowe at CMSS.

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