The United Kingdom is well-known to provide safer, better, and high-quality healthcare to its citizens. The UK’s NHS supports healthcare professionals to deliver the highest possible standards of care. For this reason, nursing jobs in the NHS, UK are a popular choice. It is considered as one of the most progressive, satisfactory, and purposeful career options. The healthcare system of the UK teaches the nurses to take care of patients safely, expertly, respectfully, compassionately, and with the utmost integrity.
NHS is well known for allowing the nurses, midwives, and the entire healthcare professional to strive for constant learning. In order to promote their trust, career development, and well-being, the NHS helps professionals who apply for nursing jobs in the UK to upscale their skills and enhance them as nursing practitioners.
For all international nurses, deciding to be hired for a nursing job in the NHS UK can be one of the best professional choices ever. In case you are an international nurse who is relocating to the UK for working with the NHS, then there are a couple of important things to know. Being aware of this step-by-step guide is necessary before applying for nursing jobs in the UK. This is because the process of registering as a nurse in the UK differs for the nurses trained in the EU and for those trained outside.
The international nurses who aspire to relocate to the UK for working with the NHS frequently ask some questions. In this blog, we will answer them one by one so that the nurses get a clear and definitive picture of the moving process.
Keep reading to find the answers to 10 questions asked by international nurses before applying for nursing jobs in the UK.
1. What is the process to register as a nurse in the UK?
The first and the most important step to becoming a nurse in the UK is to register with the NMC or the Nursing and the Midwifery Council. This rule applies to all nurses including the General Nurses, Mental Health Nurses, and the midwives as well. Being an international nurse, you will need to acquire a UK work permit along with the NMC registration.
For practicing as a nurse in the UK, all nurses need a PIN number and a current registration. When you go to the NMC’s website, you will be able to see the needed information for registering either as a nurse or as a midwife in the UK. After completing the process, your application will be reviewed by the NMC to check if you need any changes in your qualification or if the PIN number can be issued without any conditions.
This decision will be communicated to you as either a registration, rejection, or the requirement to undertake a period of supervised practice. You must know that the NMC does not provide you the right to work in the UK and a Visa will still be required for non-EEA nationals to make that happen.
2. What is included in the English Competency Test and why is it important?
The nurses who wish to apply for nursing jobs in the UK are asked to take tests that demonstrate their English competency. This can be done successfully by either taking an IELTS or an OET test. This test is a valid proof of the fact that nursing professionals can understand and communicate in the English language effectively.
The structure of these tests covers listening, reading, writing, and speaking sections. Where the IELTS requires a minimum overall score of 7 points (6.5 in writing and 7 in listening, speaking, and reading), OET requires grade B to pass the test and for the NMC registration.
Although applicants can take IELTS as well, when it is about the healthcare professionals who want to relocate to the UK, it is advised that they opt for OET. The importance of OET for International nurses willing to work with the NHS is higher because OET is an English language test that is specifically designed for the healthcare sector. It particularly assesses the language skills for healthcare professionals like doctors, nurses, and midwives who aspire to register and practice in an English-speaking environment.
3. What is included in the recruitment process?
For any international nurse who wishes to apply for nursing jobs in the NHS UK, the common recruitment process that will follow is like this:
- • Taking an English language competency test
- • Applying to an NHS Hospital and giving an interview
- • Receiving an offer letter from the hospital after a successful interview
- • Beginning the registration process with the NMC while arranging for the CBT
- • Sending the required documents to the NMC and receiving a decision letter
- • Receiving a Certificate of Sponsorship and then applying for your tier 2 Visa
- • Having a flight booked for travelling to the UK
- • Reaching in the UK and beginning working in the NHS as a Band 4 nurse
- • Take the OSCE
- • Start working as a nurse with the NHS
4. What are the practice requirements for international nurses applying for nursing jobs in the UK?
All the international nurses who wish to apply for a nursing job in the NHS UK must have practiced as a registered nurse for at least a year either full-time or part-time. This experience must also be relevant to the vacancy that you are applying for.
When the nurse has valid practice evidence then it makes the entire registration process a lot easier. This practice requirement proves that the nurses are qualified and trained to work with the NHS.
5. What is CBT or the Computer Based Test?
After a professional who is applying for a nursing job in the UK passes the eligibility stage, the next step is to sit for the CBT or the Computer Based Test. This is essentially a test of theoretical knowledge of the candidate and it can be taken in multiple test centres around the world. The format of this test includes multiple-choice questions.
A candidate is allowed three attempts to pass the CBT as part of one application with a minimum gap of ten days between every sitting. Every candidate needs to pass the CBT within six months of completing the eligibility stage. In case the candidate is unsuccessful during the third attempt then the application closes and the candidate needs to wait for another six months to start the application process again.
6. What is OSCE or the Objective Structured Clinical Examination?
OSCE or the Objective Structured Clinical Examination is a test that is taken as a second part of the assessment for registration as an overseas nurse. It is actually a practical test that involves acting out some scenarios that are commonly faced by nurses while in healthcare situations.
You can book the OSCE after arriving in the UK and take the test at the prescribed centres. For arranging the OSCE examination, it is important to contact the centres and book a slot for yourself.
OSCE is a test that simulates a clinical environment and patient scenarios that all registered nurses and midwives are highly to encounter at the time when they plan, implement and evaluate care. It is a test based on the UK’s pre-registration standards. There are three attempts given at the OSCE as a part of one application. For every sitting, a gap of ten days is mandatory.
7. Is a Visa required to work in the UK?
For all international nurses who want a nursing job in the NHS UK, a Tier 2 Visa or a work permit is required to work in the UK. While applying for a nursing job in the UK, nurses can get a Certificate of Sponsorship from their respective trusts. This certificate will be helpful in applying for your Visa. Once a Visa is issued, the applicant will be allowed to travel in and out of the UK very easily.
8. Are the nurses allowed to bring their families to the UK?
Yes, the nurses are allowed to bring their families to the UK but the family member must apply for a visa. You must seek to join a relevant trust that helps to take your family members along. Speaking to your recruitment consultant about the benefits of working with the NHS can give you a clear picture of this.
Other than this, it is recommended to not bring your families to the UK until the OSCE test has been cleared successfully. This puts the nurses on a safer side. Once the test has been passed, the nurses can feel free to call their families to the UK.
9. Are the nurses given accommodation to stay while working in the UK?
Yes, a three months long paid accommodation is provided on arrival. More often than not, this accommodation is only for the nurses and not for the families. However, there are some cases when a recruitment consultant might offer accommodation for the family as well. The nurses must ask the consultants about all details for a better clarification.
10. Are the nurses given any pension?
All the NHS employees are eligible to be enrolled for the NHS Pension Scheme. According to this scheme, almost 7-9% of the total salary is contributed towards the pension on a monthly basis and the trust makes a monthly contribution equal to over 14%.
This pension scheme secures the monetary future of nurses in the UK. It ensures a happy and safe life. However, if any employee is not interested in being a part of it then they can opt-out by all means.
Above mentioned are some of the most commonly asked important questions by all International nurses who wish to apply for nursing jobs in the NHS UK. If you are also one of them then make sure that you read all these answers carefully while getting all your doubts clarified about each and everything. This will make your journey easier and help you stay updated about the things to know before applying for nursing jobs in the UK.