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American nurse in Europe, specifically Switzerland?

Posted

Hi,

Do any of you know of any loopholes for an American Nurse, who speaks only English, to work as a Nurse in Switzerland. I'm thinking along the lines of employment through the WHO or a military hospital?

I'm currently a nursing student in the US. I have a Bachelor's degree in another field (anthropology), and will have an RN certificate in December of next year. I have tentative plans to move to Europe for a year, 1 year after graduation, and Switzerland is currently my top choice. At the time I move, I may have obtained a BSN in the US (but maybe not). I only speak English.

I have done some research and found the information offered by the Red Cross in Switzerland, and I understand that being fluent in one of the 4 official languages is a requirement to work as a nurse there. I am keeping open about the possibility of trying to learn French, German or Italian, but I want to be realistic about whether I will be capable of doing that in the amount of time I have, in addition to other obligations.

I also have some flexibility in choosing another European country, but I do want to work somewhere that my training as an RN will be utilized. That is, after one year in Europe I will be returning to the US and don't want to have to start at the very bottom to make up for my time spent in Europe.

I would appreciate ANY advice on this subject. Thanks so much!!:)

Hi BA Antro,

I'm in a similar situation you are in; I graudated with a B.S. in Community Health, and am now looking to complete an accelerated nursing program to get my B.S.N. to work as a nurse... I want to work abroad as well, I love to travel, no matter the destination (over seas preferably) Have you found any info out about working abroad as a nurse in Switzerland/anywhere? I'm assuming it'd be in an international organization like the Red Cross as you mentioned. Any info you've happened to wander across would be greatly appreciated! Thanks so much and hope you're well on your way!

Hi BA Antro,

I'm in a similar situation you are in; I graudated with a B.S. in Community Health, and am now looking to complete an accelerated nursing program to get my B.S.N. to work as a nurse... I want to work abroad as well, I love to travel, no matter the destination (over seas preferably) Have you found any info out about working abroad as a nurse in Switzerland/anywhere? I'm assuming it'd be in an international organization like the Red Cross as you mentioned. Any info you've happened to wander across would be greatly appreciated! Thanks so much and hope you're well on your way!

Hi, Avacado.

Yes, I've found out some information.

Switzerland seems to be very strict about the language requirement and I have not been able to find any loopholes to this. I found that Italy and Germany have the most US military bases with numerous positions for civilian nurses, and they pay a pretty decent salary. The requirements are a little grey, though. Some of them want a year of experience in addition to the RN or a graduate degree, but it does appear that the experience can be as an aide or student nurse. I'm not sure on that, I have to check into it further.

If you're interested in traveling to areas of low socio-economic status, there are loads of opportunities and I believe it would really help your career in the US upon your return (Dr's without borders, etc). They often do not require knowledge of the country's mother-tongue. Good luck!

traumaRUs, MSN, APRN, CNS

Specializes in Nephrology, Cardiology, ER, ICU. Has 27 years experience.

Just want to post too that the military base jobs are typically filled by military spouses who have job preference. Jobs at overseas US military bases are few and far between.

I would also recommend that anyone considering an accelerated degree does not do it if you ever wish to work in Europe! I was even enrolled in some extra subjects over the summers so that I coudl finish 6 months early (same classes, same contact adn same clinical hours) and discovered that the UK and the EU dont' consider degrees completed in less than 3 academic years to be good enough and will not allow registration. This has been the case for a long time, it is just a shame that student nurses arent' made aware of it. I'm lucky I found out in time to rejig my semesters as I was not fully accelerating but I have friends who were doing the course to go work in the UK/EU and now have no chance as they did it fully accelerated!! BE WARNED!

Just want to post too that the military base jobs are typically filled by military spouses who have job preference. Jobs at overseas US military bases are few and far between.

Thanks for the tidbit! Do you have personal experience with civilian employment on military bases?

I've read some posts on allnurses suggesting just what you wrote, but I was surprised to see several postings on https://my.usajobs.gov/ I'm not sure why they'd have that number of postings if they ahd such an easy time filling the positions (??)

If anyone else has any info on working in Switzerland as a nurse, that would be great. I am currently working on my pre-reqs for both an Associates program and a Bachelor's program. I do know that Switzerland only recognizes a Bachelor's of anything and above. I am currently trying to learn German.

Thanks!

I know it's been a long time, but just in case....

USA Jobs...there's a rule that states that any government position should be informed to the public for a certain period of time. Most of the positions on USAJobs already have someone that is going to fill the position within the community (whether medical, dental, veterinary, intel, etc.). Since they have to abide by the rules, they post the vacancies even though they have a candidate already.

Now there are many many military spouses, defendants, and veterans with a RN degree/license that are multi-lingual. I am a RN-BSN speaking 4 languages fluently and 2 semi-fluently. I am a US Army veteran (service connected disability 30% or more), was married to a service member, and my dad was in the Army as well. I could only use one preference, and the veterans preference gives me 30 points over all other non veteran candidate with same experience. So had I wanted to work as a nurse in Germany or Italy, or Japan or Korea, then I would have gotten it. However, I am not.

Hope you have found a position overseas. But I hope this helps.

Lets keep in mind in order to legally work in Europe, you must be an EU citizen, unless you get some sort of visa via marriage or a company asks to employ you. Its very complex, and at the moment the UK is one of the only countries with a massive lack of nurses, BUT their training is different than ours, they specialize from the start and their pay is A LOT lower than ours ( start pay: $28,000 before tax) , hospitals tend to be gravely understaffed. In the other western countries (the more desirable countries to live in) i.e. Spain, Portugal, France, Italy graduated nurses are struggling to find jobs in their countries so I doubt you'd find a position before an EU citizen (unless you are) and without the EU education, especially in this economic crises that hit these countries very hard.