Comparison of US and UK pay

  1. I am a RN working in the US. I am just beginning to look into the comparison of pay and cost of living. If I moved to the UK, can I expect to make more or less? Can anyone give me any information on this? Also, is the shortage of nurses in the UK comparable to the shortage we have here. Any information would be greatly appreciated.
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  2. 140 Comments

  3. by   Silverdragon102
    Quote from tipselu
    I am a RN working in the US. I am just beginning to look into the comparison of pay and cost of living. If I moved to the UK, can I expect to make more or less? Can anyone give me any information on this? Also, is the shortage of nurses in the UK comparable to the shortage we have here. Any information would be greatly appreciated.
    Hi

    Currently getting a work permit may be a problem plus plenty of hoops to jump through with NMC before they will issue you with a NMC number which will enable you to work as a RN in the UK but will not guarantee you a job. This website should give you a rough idea on pay although it is set for April 06
    http://www.rcn.org.uk/agendaforchang...ay/pay2006.php

    NMC http://www.nmc-uk.org/aSection.aspx?SectionID=17
  4. by   RGN1
    Most UK floor nurses can earn at least 50% more in the USA than they do here in the UK, in some States the difference becomes double or more!

    The cost of living in the UK is generally much higher and so are the taxes. I know there are State variations but on the whole most UK nurses who have moved to the USA & have not had any major problems don't seem to regret it - from reading posts on this forum. It would be interesting to see how many US nurses have made the journey the other way & if they wished they hadn't?

    The main differences seem to be the better employment laws they have here in the UK - you are way better protected in your jobs here, on the whole - again I accept that there are State variations on this. Also you get way more vacation time here in the UK & that goes for any State!

    You also have more autonomy in some ways here than you seem to have in the USA. Our doctors may sometimes think they're gods but they neither get treated like it or are allowed to act like it for long. Most experienced nurses here are able to give an opinion that is listened to & acted upon by the vast majority of their medical colleagues. We can make decisions about some care without written orders, for example putting in catheters for retention, without any comebacks.

    I think that the staff shortages here are more acute than most places in the USA (though I'm sure not all) & most of us do not have the luxury of a CNA to do some of the more basic tasks. There is no such thing as an LPN either so you pretty much have to do everything for your patient from cleaning their lockers to carrying out complicated dressing care. I think that's why so many nurses get burned out because we used to have a lot more back-up & help than we do now. the workload is way too high for most nurses in the NHS today & IMHO that has resulted in the terrible stories of poor care, malnutrition etc etc that we see now.
  5. by   madwife2002
    I do not think the wages are hugely better in the USA plus you have to work really hard for your money do not think you are going to come here and find that you dont work for your money because you work extreemly hard especially if you work on a medical/surgical ward.
    If you work nights in the US you wont get long breaks like you may get in the UK where you can sleep you get 1/2 hour.
    In the UK I have known nights where you get 2 hour breaks and nurses make beds and go to sleep.
    In the UK you get decent holidays you do not get decent holidays here and I do not care who you are or where you are from in the UK you will miss the holidays
  6. by   topscot
    Quote from madwife2002
    I do not think the wages are hugely better in the USA plus you have to work really hard for your money do not think you are going to come here and find that you dont work for your money because you work extreemly hard especially if you work on a medical/surgical ward.
    If you work nights in the US you wont get long breaks like you may get in the UK where you can sleep you get 1/2 hour.
    In the UK I have known nights where you get 2 hour breaks and nurses make beds and go to sleep.
    In the UK you get decent holidays you do not get decent holidays here and I do not care who you are or where you are from in the UK you will miss the holidays
    i don't know where you worked but where i work in te UK we are extremely overworked and under paid as are most of the nurses i know
  7. by   RGN1
    My NHS basic was 7.67 per hour exc increments, my USA wage will be $26 ex incs, you do the maths!

    Admittedly I now earn a bit more as a senior nurse (but not a lot more) in the private sector but I get no increments at all for weekends, lates or Bank Holidays as it's all "included" in the basic according to the employer and my US wage will still be more per hour basic!

    As for hard work - how does working with 16 highly dependent elderly acute medical patients, at least 6 doubly incontinent, 2 with CVP lines needing hourly reading plus all the other usual stuff, feeding, toileting etc etc etc with just me (in charge too of that part of the ward), an adaptation nurse (qualified but not allowed to take on certain tasks until the adaptation course is successfully completed) & one HCA!!!! That was becoming the norm towards the end of my time at that hospital because of budget cuts & not being allowed to replace sick staff with agency staff etc.

    I truly don't see the USA with rose tinted glasses but at least I'll have a jacuzzi to relax in at the end of my shift!! Also most hospitals in my local area - where I'll head once my 18 month contract is over, have 12 hour shifts so you have more days away from work which you can use cleverly to enhance the lower A/L. I have a friend who is a nurse in the area & she loves her job, is happy with her pay & her lifestyle.
  8. by   XB9S
    Quote from topscot
    i don't know where you worked but where i work in te UK we are extremely overworked and under paid as are most of the nurses i know
    I don't think that Madwife was suggesting that UK nurses are not overworked and underpaid but suggesting that there are some benefits such as fully paid sick leave, good holiday entiltements and that in the US (although I can't comment as have no experience) it is still very hard work with less time off.
  9. by   madwife2002
    Thanks XB9S I wasnt trying to say I didnt work hard in the UK i did of course who doesnt. I was just trying to point out it is busy here too and you work as hard just in a different way.
    I try very hard to try and prepare you all for a little reality but maybe I should just keep quiet, as I end up annoying and not helping.
  10. by   Silverdragon102
    Quote from madwife2002
    Thanks XB9S I wasnt trying to say I didnt work hard in the UK i did of course who doesnt. I was just trying to point out it is busy here too and you work as hard just in a different way.
    I try very hard to try and prepare you all for a little reality but maybe I should just keep quiet, as I end up annoying and not helping.
    to be honest Kay I love hearing from people who have been there and done it and just remind us it will not be easy. Yes we are already having a bit of a hard time going through the process but I think we forget sometimes that it will be overall different once we get out there. ie credit history or lack of, health insurance, car insurance and the list continues.
  11. by   Tanvi Tusti
    Quote from RGN1
    My NHS basic was 7.67 per hour exc increments, my USA wage will be $26 ex incs, you do the maths!

    Admittedly I now earn a bit more as a senior nurse (but not a lot more) in the private sector but I get no increments at all for weekends, lates or Bank Holidays as it's all "included" in the basic according to the employer and my US wage will still be more per hour basic!

    I dont know why you would only be earning 7.67 per hour. Band 5 point 3 at 19166 PA is the lowest start point for an RN (as quoted by the RCN) and that works out to 9.80 an hour so even if you are newly qualified you should be earning way more tham 7.67 an hour. Wherever it was that paid you that are totally ripping you off. As for relaxing in a jacuzzi, get yourself off to BandQ, they do some great offers on whirlpools!!
  12. by   Tanvi Tusti
    Quote from madwife2002
    Thanks XB9S I wasnt trying to say I didnt work hard in the UK i did of course who doesnt. I was just trying to point out it is busy here too and you work as hard just in a different way.
    I try very hard to try and prepare you all for a little reality but maybe I should just keep quiet, as I end up annoying and not helping.
    Trying to prepare people to the reality of life in the US is very hard when all they seem to do is badmouth their own country. Many on here seem to have a very rose tinted view of the US that will not be discouloured until they get there. Life in the US is good if you have a job, money AND good insurance, but god forbid if you haven't.
    My 59 year old father in law, who has worked all his life in Portland WA, paid his insurance, done is bit and now when he needs help, its not there. He had a stroke in June last year, had 2 weeks rehab covered by his insurance, still needed it after this but insurance would not pay so he paid from his megre savings. In September he was diagnosed with bowel cancer. His insurers would not pay for all his care. Having spent his savings on the rehab the previous months, he had no option but to remortgage to free up some money from his home. Now he is in a position where he has no idea if or when he will be able to return to work, he has no income from anywhere, his money from the remortgage is dwindling and he is beside himself about how he will mangage. We seriously considered not coming out to Oz and having him come over to us in the UK, but he would hear none of it. The stories I hear from my husband about how he managed when he was unemployed through no fault of his own, sitting for hours waiting to get work just for one day so he could afford to eat, life out there can be incredibly tough so be prepared for it. There is no social support there like in the UK. However bad it might be in England, believe me, having some support is better than none at all. And for anyone considering having a baby out there, dont expect maternity pay, you just wont get a thing.
  13. by   suzanne7575
    I certainly don't see the US through rose coloured specatacles, I know it is going to be damn hard and am prepared for that. I also don't hate the Uk with a passion, yes we don't have any prospects over here an the NHS is in trouble, but it more that the states is pulling us to go there, than the UK driving us away. We have always wanted to live and work in the states and are happy to tough it out for a bit. We are not giving up a home here in the UK as we only rent, so if it doesn't work out then we can always come home again and we haven't given up our place on the property ladder. I have done as much research as i can through reading posts on here and other forums and have looked into all the aspects of taxes, insurances etc. We are prepared for hubby not getting a job straight away, we are prepared to have to manage on very little money untile he does get work, we are prepared to feel lonely and homesick and that we are going to have to get used to another culture, but it is what we want to do and i don't want to look back in 10 years and regret not doing it.

    Madwife, I always read your posts with interest and think you are doing a great job, please don't stop.
  14. by   RGN1
    Quote from madwife2002
    Thanks XB9S I wasnt trying to say I didnt work hard in the UK i did of course who doesnt. I was just trying to point out it is busy here too and you work as hard just in a different way.
    I try very hard to try and prepare you all for a little reality but maybe I should just keep quiet, as I end up annoying and not helping.
    We all really appreciate your posts Madwife - your advice has always been & continues to be invaluable. Please don't stop!

    It's just that the NHS you left is much changed now & life in the UK is different too - there is sooooooo much stealth tax going on it's untrue & the latest plan is for pay per mile driving - we'll all have to have black boxes in our cars & be charged per mile according to the time of day. That's on top of extortionate car tax, TV license fees, wheelie bin chips to charge us if we throw too much rubbish away, CCTV cars to snap you & fine you if you dare to park even a few minutes on a yellow line - even if you have a flat tyre (that happened to a friend!) etc etc.

    I promise you I don't see the USA through rose tinted glasses - partly thanks to your info - but I just want to get out of the UK & as we have friends & property in the USA it makes sense to try there. If I really hate it I'll move on to Oz!!

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