Working in Nursing in the UK
|The Opportunity||How to Prepare||FAQs|
Nursing professionals are in high demand in the UK from Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. Work is available based on your specialisation, as well as location and preferences in the NHS and by private employers. Choose to travel in between short-term work, or instead search for a long-term position and enjoy life in the UK. The best way to connect to available opportunities is to register with agencies who are focused on helping people from overseas and can place you in one to several contract positions or a long-term position with the NHS or within private institutions. These agencies can also help get important paperwork completed like the mandatory NMC registration.
Find full or part-time positions with the NHS or in private healthcare facilities, across most specialisations.
|More than 15,000 travel to the UK and find nursing jobs each year. Agencies help ensure you find work suited to your experience.||Work continuously or schedule time for travel between contract work.|
Nursing positions range from permanent to short-term locum positions. In high demand are RMN's, RGN's, Nurse Mangers and specialist nursing jobs including A&E (Emergency Department), ITU (ICU), Paediatric, Scrub, Anesthetic and Recovery.
|Popular Specialisations||Where You'll Work|
||National Health Service hospitals
Private nursing homes
|Health screening clinics
Occupational health units
Learning disability homes
Private home care
NHS vs. Private Sector
The NHS employs 1.7M people and is the largest employer in Europe. Most hospitals are run by the NHS but there is also a significant private sector. Nurses may find the working conditions less pressured in private hospitals where the ratio of nurses to patients is significantly higher but many specialist positions exist as part of the NHS system. Nursing recruitment agencies play a vital role in supplying the NHS hospitals and private hospitals.
How Much You'll Earn
Nurses are graded in seniority from grade A to grade I, with registered nurses beginning at grade D. Newly registered nurses can expect to start on a salary of around £17,000 which can increase to up to £30,000 at the most senior level I.
Private hospitals usually pay higher rates than NHS facilities, but in both environments you can expect a living allowance if you are situated in London (due to the higher cost of living in the capital) that can be up to £4,000 p.a. in addition to your salary as a registered nurse.
Registering with the NMC
All nurses, midwives and specialist community public health nurses wishing to practise in Britain must be registered with the regulatory body, Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).
In order to register with the NMC, you must:
Note: Specialist nurses and midwives applying for registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) also need to meet further education requirements.
Overseas Nursing Programme
Nurses trained outside of the European Economic Area must have their initial training assessed before they can be admitted to the register. The nurses’ part of the register is divided into four fields: adult (general nursing), mental health nursing, learning disabilities nursing and children's nursing.If your application meets the NMC’s minimum standards you will be required to undertake all or part of their new Overseas Nurses Programme (ONP) before your registration can be completed.
The 20-day ONP covers legal issues affecting nursing, health and safety issues and the NMC Code of Conduct. You will also have to pass an English language test.
The NMC charges £140 to process applications and then once you have been accepted to the register you will be required to pay a registration fee of £162 that is valid for three years. The assessment process can take up to six months, so be sure to apply well in advance of your planned departure for Britain.
You can register with WORKgateways up to two years before you leave to assist you in finding a nursing position that suits you. By registering with UK-based agencies that partner with WORKGateways, you can get a head start on your job search. These recruitment agencies specialise in connecting working travelers with the best opportunities.
Registering with the NMC allows you to practise in Britain, but you still must have a valid permit or work visa status when you enter. On a working holiday visa you will be able to undertake ad hoc shifts and rota work.
With a work permit you will need to be sponsored by a hospital, private clinic or company. In that instance you are normally required to commit to at least a year with that employer due to the expenses and paper work involved in sponsoring overseas candidates.
Before you can practise as a nurse you must register with the profession’s regulatory body, the Nursing and Midwifery Council. Midwives and specialist nurses will need to meet further education requirements. In order to register with the NMC, you must 1) currently be a registered nurse in your home country and hold a first-level qualification for nursing; 2) have completed a 3 year training program; 3) have had a minimum of 12 months of experience. The NMC is divided into four categories: adult (general) nursing, mental health nursing, learning disabilities nursing or children's nursing. Most nurses will fit in the adult nursing category, which is the broadest.
If you've received your training outside of the European Economic Area, you'll have to have your training assessed before regsitering. For this reason, you must attend all or part of the Overseas Nurses Programme (ONP), a 20 day course. In addition, you'll have to pass an English-language test.
This depends. Nurses with working visas can take on contract work, that is rota work and ad hoc shifts. Working travelers with EU passports, Ancestry Visas or Right to Abode certificates can take on permanent positions in the UK.
The salary of a registered nurse is structured in a similar way to most other countries, using a graded system. The relatively new NHS Agenda for Change pay system is divided into nine pay bands, with several pay increments within each band. Entry level nurses currently begin in band five with the most senior nursing positions falling in band eight. Levels of pay increase as you gain experience and progress through the increments in each band. The new Agenda for Change system of pay is currently only being implemented in NHS facilities but is expected to influence rates of pay outside the national system in the future.
Nurses who are newly registered will generally make about £17,000 annually, while those at the most senior level can expect to make roughly £30,000. Generally speaking, nurses who work in private hospitals earn more than nurses who work in NHS facilities. In addition, nurses employed in London can expect to receive a living allowance up to £4,000 p.a.
If you are from a non-EU country you will need to take the IELTS (International English Language Testing System) exam. This is a relatively easy step for Australians, New Zealanders, South Africans and Canadians since English is likely to be your first language. For members of non-EU countries the IELTS test is mandatory for certain professionals including nurses and doctors. To find out where to take your exam in your home country and get further information visit the British Council website.
Though you are not required to obtain professional indemnity insurance in order to practise nursing in the UK, we highly recommend doing so. You can join the Royal College of Nurses, which will cover up to £3 million in claims made against you by a patient, colleague or anyone else. The same applies to any injuries you sustain while on the job. Once you are registered with the NMC they should be able to provide you with advice on insurance options.
Currently, the only nursing positions listed on Shortage Occupation List for Tier 2 of the Points-Based System are for specialist nurses working in neonatal intensive care units. These nurses can be sponsored by an employer, which is required for nurses seeking a work permit. Nurses with work permits likely commit to a minimum of a one year contract.
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