Canadian nurse going to Iceland?

  1. Hi all, I am not sure if anyone will be able to give advice on this but figured I'd try asking.

    I am a Canadian RN with a bachelor's degree. I am a new grad (graduated April 2012). One of the things I would like to do as a nurse is travel and work in other countries. I planned on doing this after I've had minimum of one to two years practice in Canada, in order to consolidate my practice.

    I recently visited Iceland and totally fell in love with the place. I'd love to go there for six months to a year to work as a nurse, if such a thing were possible, perhaps longer. Does anyone know if this is possible, or what the nursing situation is currently like in Iceland?

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    About tareija

    Joined: Apr '09; Posts: 71; Likes: 38
    from CA


  3. by   Fiona59
    Do you speak Icelandic or some other Scandanavian language?

    I'd say that would be the staring point

    Just remember that the world financial crisis basically started when the Icelandic banks started to fail (had a friend who lost $$$$ in that one). So the picture up there might not be that rosy
  4. by   tareija
    Hi Fiona,

    Unfortunately I don't, no. I do like other languages though and am reasonably good at learning them. I also found the language really beautiful, although unfortunately it is apparently not the easiest one to learn.

    I thought at first this would prevent me from working there. However I talked to a few Icelandic people about this issue when I was there. They all said that they have quite a few foreign nurses, often from Asia or eastern Europe, who don't speak Icelandic, or if they do don't speak it well. I checked the website of the main hospital in Reykjavik, and it said for foreign nurses, if you don't speak Icelandic you have to speak fluent English and be working towards learning Icelandic. A lot of Icelandic people are fluent in English, from what I understand nearly everyone who is 50 or younger. However I know in nursing often we are working with elderly people, so not sure how that would work. I believe at university when studying nursing or medicine, the classes are in Icelandic but all the textbooks are in English, so communicating with co-workers at least would probably be okay. I was sort of surprised to hear all of this. Of course other countries absolutely have the right to ask for whatever qualifications they want from foreign trained health care professionals, including fluency in the language. However apparently they do need nurses, according to people I talked to, who encouraged me to look in to it.

    I know the economic situation there has been bad, however, and that might mean it's a bad idea to go there to work. Recently too a lot of nurses were protesting and threatening to resign from their jobs, as apparently they don't get paid very well.
  5. by   Pzielinski
    So did you end up working in Iceland? I also fell in love with it when we were there! Just curious if it ended up working out for you. If so, how did it go? What was the pay and where did you work? Did they provide housing?