Are you looking for nursing jobs abroad? We’ve got you covered.
As a nurse, working abroad can open up a whole world of exciting new opportunities and experiences — and the extra good news is that nursing jobs in foreign countries are in high demand.
There are tons of benefits for nurses working abroad, including getting to see exciting new destinations and make new friends, learning new languages and experiencing different cultures, and giving a huge boost to your CV to help you advance your career in interesting new ways.
Here’s our guide to everything you know about working in another country as a nurse to get you started on your amazing new adventure…
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Nursing Abroad: Are You Qualified?
Where in the world you can work as a nurse depends on your qualifications.
The UK nursing ‘Registered Nurse: Adult’ qualification is generally accepted in nearly all countries all over the globe, but other nursing qualifications may or may not be recognised in your country of choice.
If you are a newly qualified nurse the Royal College of Nursing recommends that you complete a minimum of 6 months experience at home before applying for jobs abroad.
Overseas employers and recruitment companies — particularly those outside of the EU — have specific demands regarding the experience and qualifications required for a particular job.
In addition, the majority of countries have their own nurse registration or licensing authorities which will require you to obtain registration with them before you can take up a new host abroad.
The Nursing and Midwifery Council has a full list of registering bodies in destinations around the world.
What to Expect in Nursing Jobs Abroad
One of the most important things to remember when working abroad as a UK qualified nurse is that it will usually be very different from working in Britain and bring new challenges, but it can also be extremely rewarding.
What you can expect when working overseas will depend on the country where you choose to work. Certain destinations such as Australia, Canada, New Zealand and America are very popular as there is no language barrier, which may pose problems with feelings of isolation when working in countries where English is not widely spoken.
Working in some other countries — particularly developing countries — will require you to be equipped with a sense of adventure, be emotionally strong, and have an open mind, as you could find yourself in a multitude of different circumstances such as working in poor conditions with inadequate facilities, being stuck in the middle of nowhere in a rural community, or even finding yourself at risk in a war zone.
You may also find yourself working long hours in demanding situations, so know what you are taking on before you start booking your plane tickets.
Nursing pay scales vary wildly between countries too, so it’s quite possible that you could be earning less than you may be used to in the UK.
How to Find Nursing Jobs Abroad
There are numerous websites for qualified UK nurses looking for nursing jobs abroad. They feature databases of jobs around the world, and are usually searchable by country and skills sector.
Healthcare recruiting companies act as intermediaries between employers and nurses looking for work, so it is a good idea to register with them to see what they have available.
An additional advantage to finding work via a recruitment agency is that they usually deal with any necessary paperwork and red tape, and help you get settled into your new country and place of work.
Nursing in Canada from UK
Canada offers UK nurses good employment opportunities — particularly registered nurses with skills and experience in speciality areas including critical care and emergency, and those who are happy to work in fairly small or more isolated rural communities.
Each Canadian province has different procedures and specifications for nurses applying to work there, and your UK credentials will need to be assessed before you can register as a nurse and start actively applying for jobs, as well as obtaining the appropriate visa before you can legally work.
Working full time as a registered nurse in Canada you can expect to earn anywhere between $65,000 and $85,000 per year depending on location — more if your skills are more specialised.
Take a look at this video for further information:
Nursing in Australia from UK
Australia is a popular destination with very strict immigration policies, but don’t let this put you off as there are still plenty of nursing jobs available in both public and private sectors for UK nurses.
Healthcare models, employment opportunities, and cost of living in Oz and the UK are all fairly similar, which makes the transition of working as a nurse in Australia quite straightforward.
You will need to be an RN with a degree in nursing in order to be able to make any job applications, and the maximum age of entry is 45.
The average wage for an Australian RN is around $65,000, although nursing salaries differ from state to state and are dependent on your grade and level of experience.
As a UK nurse you will be required to register with AHPRA (the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency) and pass an English language test.
There are 3 different ways to get your foot in the door – by applying to emigrate permanently as a skilled migrant; live and work there on a temporary visa; or visit on a working holiday visa if you’re aged between 18 and 30.
Nursing in USA from UK
Although the USA suffers from a shortage of nursing staff, there are lots of hoops to jump through before you can work there as a UK registered nurse, and the process can be lengthy, taking up to a year.
In addition to your qualifications (which must include a 4 year degree in nursing) you will need a minimum of 2 years experience and be currently in work, and depending on your chosen US state complete a Foreign Educated Nurses (FEN) refresher course.
You will also need to sit a NCLEX-RN exam in your chosen state in order to become a US registered nurse, after which time you can apply for your work visa and start applying for jobs.
The average salary for a Registered Nurse is $68,450 per year in the US, and just like in the UK shifts can be long and tiring due to the lack of nursing staff.
Nursing in Saudi Arabia from UK
Saudi Arabian culture is hugely different to that in the UK, which can come as a shock to many Brits, but as long as you embrace the lifestyle, working as a nurse in Saudi can have a lot of benefits – including higher salaries than those in the UK, and importantly earnings are tax free and nurses have a lot more paid holiday.
Hospitals in Saudi are of a very high standard, which makes for a pleasant working environment with plenty of scope for career advancement.
There are an abundance of jobs available for UK RNs, provided you have a degree, 2 years experience in a larger sized hospital, and 1 or 2 years experience in any given speciality that you may have.
What to Know When You Return to the UK
If and when you decide to return to the UK to carry on your nursing career, there are certain things to consider.
Whilst you are away it is important to keep aware of healthcare and nursing developments back in the UK as this will be important to employers upon your return.
If you have completed any further qualifications in a foreign country, you must apply to the NMC to have the qualification correctly registered which may require a refresher course or additional training.
During your time abroad it is vital to keep your UK RN status, which means continuing to pay your annual registration fee to the NMC and renewing your registration every 3 years, which can be done online from anywhere in the world.
What’s your experience of finding nursing jobs abroad?