US to UK transition, pls help.

  1. Hello everyone!

    I'm a RN (BSN) here in the US and would like to come to work in the UK. I've been a medical/surgical nurse for 1.5 yrs, and planning on taking the IELTS in October. I was just curious, what kind of nursing would I get hired for in the UK? What are the different types of nursing in the UK and their scopes of practice? If I get hired as a Adult nurse, would I be able to start venipunctures, hang an IV bag, give blood, start foleys/NG tubes etc? I tried researching but can't seem to find anything about it.

    Would there be any opportunities to take classes if I want to become an ICU or ER nurse?

    Do you guys suggest that I look for a nursing agency to assist me to look for an employer, so that I can then apply for visa? Any recommendations?

    I hope that you guys can help. So sorry, I have many questions. THANK YOU in advance!
  2. Visit hilife_RN profile page

    About hilife_RN

    Joined: Sep '11; Posts: 16; Likes: 3


  3. by   skylark
    Firstly, check out the NMC website for details of acquiring UK registration.
    Uk training is different because nurses generally train in only one specialty, (adult, peds, maternity or psych), there is not a generalist RN qualification covering all four.

    As regards the skills, most hospitals have their own training days that they will want you to complete on arrival. Some will accept certs from other hospitals, (such as IV meds, cannulation etc), but it seems that most want you to do their training as well, even if its identical.
    Most hospital operate within the National Health Service, which means care is free. There are also a growing number of private hospitals, try googling companies like BMI or BUPA.

    Finally just be aware that the job situation is dreadful right now. Without wanting to rain on your parade, this is not a good time to consider moving to the UK. It seems that everywhere is making cutbacks, even to vital front line services, and those in a job are scared for the future. I have been working in London but have seen my ER department halved this past year, and rumor of further closures are everywhere. I can honestly say I dont know of any co-worker who is not actively looking for another job, its not a case of 'if' we shut down, its 'when'.
  4. by   Silverdragon102
    As well as job situation not being good in the UK the issues will be finding employer willing to go the work permit route and unless job is on the shortage list that may be hard
  5. by   caroladybelle
    Unless you have citizenship in the UK or another EU nation, getting the permit to work there would be quite difficult. Plus, there are significant training/educational differences.
  6. by   yemachi
    There is a travel agency called continental nurses they may be able to help you although their rates are really low, and the travel nursing is not like the states. i am a british nurse but have been working in the states for over seven years. in london we take nurses with acute care experience, no new grads, we perform all the tasks you have stated and much more. nurses in london have much more autonomy than the nurses in the states cause no one is scared of being and in the icu the ratio with nurse to patient is 1:1.
  7. by   UStoUKbritt
    I wish you the best of luck in applying for NMC registration. It would definitely be worth a phone call/email to the NMC to ask them if you meet their theory/clinical hour requirements! It seems as though most US nursing schools don't offer nearly the amount of clinical hours the NMC requires. I hate to be a party pooper, but I've been dealing w/ the NMC for almost 2 years now trying to find a way I can qualify here. I've been a Med/Surg and Pre-op RN in the US for 3 1/2 years, but don't have the clinical hour requirements. I'm currently in the UK b/c my partner lives here, but unable to work as a nurse...pretty frustrating when I know there's a nursing shortage here (just like back home). The NMC is difficult to communicate w/, as they're not very forthcoming w/ information. I know that there have been American nurses that have been able to register here, they just don't tell you how they did it. Really, I wish you the best and hope you don't experience the nightmare like I did!
  8. by   babyNP.
    To UStoUKbritt,

    I personally talked to a decision officer who told me that for most American nurses with a BSN (that's not accelerated), you only need >1,500 hours. Helricha posted that she got through with about 1,800 hours a few months ago...

    Not everyone who answers the phone knows what they're talking about. It sounds like they have some folks who are just paid to answer the phone with very basic information, reading off a page. Because things the decision officer have told me have sharply contradicted what they have told me.

    I've applied (waiting on my decision) and just met that minimum...but I don't know if they'll accept it. I plan to ask if taking RN refresher courses or if going to graduate school as a NP with clinical hours will help cut it...

    Have you thought about applying just to see what they say? You may be surprised...
  9. by   newshark
    Hey there UStoUKbritt and others! So are you saying you have still not become registered with the NMC? I am quite worried with all these responses in this thread...Let me give a quick run down of my situation...

    Like hi life__RN, I am also trying to transfer my license from the US to UK. I graduated with a BSN and will have my one year MedSurg experience in March 2012. Luckily, I will not experience Visa issues, since I will be marrying an EEA member upon my arrival, and will live and work in the UK as an EEA member's spouse.

    However, I will have the bare minimum experience, and you all are saying it is difficult to even get registered with the NMC?

    What exactly is the issue? The posts are saying clinical hours are the majority of the issue? Even with a 4 year nursing education?

    Has anyone reading this thread SUCESSFULLY transferred their license and are currently or have ever PRACTICED in the UK?? Please help us! Information is limited online, and there are so many questions...

    Also, when talking about clinical hours, is that in reference to the clinical hours performed while in nursing school, or as a RN?

    babyRN: when did you apply to the NMC? Please keep in touch about your experience.

    I know myself and others need a lot of questions answered regarding this topic.

    Many thanks and well wishes in advance to anyone who responds to this message!!! -Sincerely, newshark
  10. by   babyNP.
    The process is going to take a few months. Have you taken the IELTS yet? Once you take it and get the results (2 weeks later), you can apply for the first packet which comes a few weeks later which needs several official notarized items, and then a few weeks later if everything is complete they send you the next packet which took a month for me to do and it was tracking down references (who basically just sign the form, not really a traditional American reference, more like a confirmation of hire dates and good conduct), getting a letter from my doctor about my health, official letter from my BON, and the transcripts part which have to also be on separate university paper because they want everything listed in hours and American transcripts generally don't.

    The general rule that decision officers have told me is that it should be >1500 hours, with at least half of that being clinical. They are only hours while in school, so your experience as a RN does not count. On their website it lists that they should have something like 4300 hours (like UK students) which is why most people are panicky about that. So far I've personally read 2 cases of American BSNs who had far less than the number of required hours, one of them is helricha and you can look her username up and her past posts; she has her stats there and the other is Coffee Nurse who just PM'd me today, but I won't post her stats unless she wants to do it here as she sent it to me in a PM.

    I should know by around Christmas if they've accepted me. I'm not sure if they will, but fingers crossed. If I'm not accepted, I will ask to speak to a decision officer about how I can improve my application and if graduate school (NP/CNS) would help me with more hours or if RN refresher courses would be eligible. My husband (a British citizen) and I want to move to the UK after we have children so they can experience their cultural heritage, so I applied years earlier just in case we ran into snags and see how we could overcome obstacles. I am willing to do nearly whatever it takes (although I don't know if I can stomach doing an entire Bsc (bachelor's) in the UK in nursing).

    I will keep you guys here posted when I know the results and my next steps (if need be) and I wish you folks luck too. Like newshark said, if anyone else is going through the process, it'd be very kind if you can post your experiences here as well, because there isn't a lot of information, nor is the information all consistent...
  11. by   newshark
    Yes, I have heard the process will take a few months. Do you mind me asking when exactly you submitted your last application? I'm assuming this was the second part of the application you most recently submitted since you are waiting to hear if you are accepted?

    I have not taken IELTS yet, plan on doing that by the end of this year to beginning of next year. I plan on submitting my first half of the application in March, when I will have met my one year minimum experience date.

    I am going to try and get as much information and documents gathered before I move but I was also wondering how difficult you think it will be to complete and submit parts one and two of the application if I am already living in the UK?

    And yes, I have heard that the way the UK nursing system organizes their course and clinical hours is a little different than the States. How exactly do I "convert" it for them to their liking? Does the NMC help with explaining that at all?

    I apologize for being so specific, but as you know, this information is so limited and you are one of the few RNs who I have found on here who is in a similar situation. (I haven't looked up helricha or coffee RN yet, but plan to).

    I too will do almost anything to make this happen, but as you said, going through another few years of nursing school will be a bit rough.

    Keep in touch when you can, I much appreciate it!
  12. by   DavidFR
    Quote from babyRN.
    Not everyone who answers the phone knows what they're talking about. It sounds like they have some folks who are just paid to answer the phone with very basic information, reading off a page. Because things the decision officer have told me have sharply contradicted what they have told me.
    This was my experience of the NMC recently when I needed information, and I'm both British and British trained.

    In days gone by the NMC, or rather the UKCC which preceeded it, used to be staffed by efficient people, often nurses/ex-nurses who all knew what the deal was and could give accurate information out when needed. It seems the "new, improved" NMC went over to call centre type people, doubtless cheaper, who seem to read pre-printed speeches and don't actually even listen to the questions being asked of them. I needed proof of my years of registration and practice to go onto a higher salary scale with my French employer, and due to NMC misinformation I paid them money for totally the wrong document. As a result I got shirty and insisted I speak to someone senior. Voil - I was miraculously put on to somebody who knew what they were doing and gave the correct information, following it up in writing and following through with the correct document I needed.

    My advice is that if you get conflicting information, be assertive and say you've been given exactly that, and that you insist on speaking to a manager/somebody in authority. Sadly the phone answerers seem only to be able to deal with routine UK registration requests. Anything from "abroad" and hence out of the box tends to throw them.

    Good luck. I hope you all make it.
  13. by   babyNP.
    The folks at the NMC told me they got all my info about 3 weeks ago and said the decision usually takes 5-7 weeks, although I think they can have up to 3 months to make a decision. I guess applications that are on the borderline go to a special group of people to review, from what I've found out; those folks meet every 2 weeks.

    The problem with trying to get the paper documentation done is that you have to have various people fill out the NMC papers themselves with stamps/seals (or have them write a letter stating that they have none--like your references. US hospitals generally don't have hospital stamps). If you're already in the UK, that will take quite a bit of chasing up since the documents will be going overseas. I had to get my doctor (although I guess any doctor would do), board of nursing (in the second part you need them to sign that you haven't had any criminal convictions and in the first one you have to have a notarized copy of your registration certificate), my employers, and my school to sign off certified copies my birth certificate, my marriage certificate, etc etc.

    For the hours, do a search on the International and the UK forum as this has been talked about before. Basically you have to figure out how many actual clinical hours you've had and have the school sign off on it. I had my school type out (on official university letterhead) all the courses I took (nursing only) and how many hours they worked out for theoretical/clinical hours. I also sent them a copy of my official university transcripts just in case. It seems that the general rule of thumb for traditional American BSNs is you have to have at least 1500 hours, at least half of the total amount must be clinical (which is why you don't put in your general ed courses) and at least 1/3 must be theoretical. So if you're on a quarter system that's 10 weeks, how many hours did you spend in a classroom and how many hours at a lab/hospital?

    I'm not sure if they'll accept me since my training is borderline on that 1500 minimum. If not I'm hoping that if I go to graduate school, the clinical hours would count or if a RN refresher course would count. Either way, I'll probably hear something by Christmas. The waiting is hard with such an important decision, but I'm doing my best to be patient. I'll call them in the first week of January if I haven't heard anything...
  14. by   newshark
    Great, thank you. I hope receive nice Christmas news, then. Please keep in touch about everything. I actually wanted to PM this message to you, BabyRN, but I cannot figure out how...? Do you have to have a certain membership for that?

    Well, I wanted to ask you is if there's a difference with the IELTS...I am trying to sign up and have the option to take the general training test or the academic test. Do you know what the difference is? Which test did you take?

    Thanks in advance

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