Nursing in the UK
May 16, 2007 by Peter Jameson
The UK welcomes trained nurses from overseas so let’s find out if your qualifications will be recognized...
The qualifications for nurses and midwives who are citizens of the EU or the European Free Trade Area (EFTA) countries are recognised under an agreement between all the member states. Be aware however that you will need to register with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) which is the UK's regulatory body unless you just want to work in the UK temporarily.
The process of registering with the NMC sometimes take months and at the time of writing the NMC was experiencing long delays in processing overseas registrations even though it attempts to process them in 135 days. Applications for entry to the NMC's register are considered on the basis of education, training and registration outside the UK, as well as the applicant’s ability to communicate effectively in English.
People coming from outside the EU or EFTA are considered on an individual basis and is therefore impossible to say whether an application will be accepted immediately or might involve a long wait and require further work or study.
However, having trained in certain countries may well lead to rapid acceptance providing certain criteria have been met. These countries are the USA, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, the West Indies and Hong Kong.
Where can you get more information?
The NMC's registration department has a dedicated team to handle overseas registrations and you can telephone the department on (+44) 20 7333 6600 between 08.00 and 17.00, weekdays, or by emailing - OverseasReg@nmc-uk.org.
Alternatively you can write to,
23 Portland Place
Information for nurses and midwives trained outside the European Community is contained in the NMC booklet “Registering as a nurse or midwife in the UK”.
To obtain a copy write to the NMC, or email firstname.lastname@example.org or alternatively you can also download it at www.nmc-uk.org.
How do you apply?
The NMC will supply an application pack but before sending it out you will need to provide the following information,
- title Miss, Ms Mr, Mrs, Dr. etc
- forenames (or first name)
- surname (or family name)
- date of birth (dd/mm/yyyy)
- country of origin/training
- whether you wish to be registered as a general nurse and/or a mental health nurse and/or a nurse for the mentally handicapped (includes, learning disabilities) and/or a sick children's nurse and/or a midwife
Write to the NMC or email email@example.com to request an application pack.
Will you have to pay?
Yes. If you are an overseas (non EU or EFTA) applicant you will be asked to pay a non-returnable fee of £117 in order to get the full application pack. You should not send this however until you are asked to do so by the NMC. If you are then accepted you will then have to pay a further £93 for your first three years’ registration.
What is a 'supervised placement'?
Nurses and midwives from some countries are advised by the NMC to obtain a supervised placement in a hospital or an approved nursing home where their clinical abilities can be assessed. You will work as an unqualified care assistant for a set period and then following correspondence with your employer a decision will be made regarding your registration. All NHS trusts that are looking to employ nurses and midwives from overseas are worth approaching.
UK employers have a fair degree of freedom as to how they organise these placements and to find an arrangement that best suits you it is recommended that you approach more than one potential employer. You will not have to pay any commission or fees and you will be giving them the benefit of your experience so they should be kind and helpful!
The NMC website lists all of the nursing homes that are currently approved to offer supervised placements but please note that if you do a placement at an unapproved home that the NMC will not accept you onto its Register.