Belgian ICU/ED nurse wanting to relocate to Norway/Ireland


Hi all,

I'm a Belgian nurse specialized in both intensive and emergency care. Working in an ICU in Brussels at the moment I'm anxious to leave and relocate. The thing is I can't decide where I should go. My mind was set on western/northern Canada but the process is excruciatingly long and expensive. I've traveled quite a lot through Norway and I absolutely love the country, I started learning Norwegian and would be willing to move up north. Thing is I still have a way better grasp on English. So I thought Ireland as it's part of the EU and would be much easier than the UK.

I'm a bit all over the place and stuck in my decision making.

It would help me big deal if some of you could tell me a bit about the situation working as an ED/ICU nurse in both Norway and Ireland, the requirements, what it's like generally, if there's a big demand.

I hope I found the right place to get all that info, hopefully some of you will have answers.



Specializes in Oncology, ID, Hepatology, Occy Health. Has 37 years experience.

As a Brit I would discourage you from the UK. I left 19 years ago and all I hear from friends since is how working conditions have deteriorated - they were never great in the first place. Getting registered with the NMC is a notoriously tedious process - even I always found them an organisation heavy on red tape and I trained in the UK! British ICU nursing is generally 1 to 1 so that may be the one area that's a little more priveliged.

Ireland is a wonderful country and I have several Irish ex-colleagues who went back to Ireland after the UK and none of them have regretted it. They generally describe positive work experiences and I believe An Bord Altranis is an easier nursing board to navigate than the NMC! And yes, there's the EU freedom of movement which of course no longer applies to the UK.

Are you Francophone or Neerlandophone? If you're French speaking we love Belgian nurses here in France! I've worked with some of your compatriots and you're generally regarded as having a good level of training. Nationally jobs can be hard to come by however the Paris region (Île-de-France) is an area of high turnover and hence always recruiting. Lots of agency work in Paris which is actually a good way to get around and see which hospitals you'd consider for a permanent post. ICU here is roughly 1 to 3 however not all of your patients are intubated and ventilated as in some other countries. French nursing is very straightforward and task based. Anglophone countries (especially the UK) can be heavy on all this flowery nusing theory which may or not be your cup of tea.

I hope you get some answers from people with direct ICU experience in Norway and Ireland. Good luck with your decision making!


2 Posts

Specializes in ICU and ED.

I'm a francophone though the whole reason I want to move away is to get closer to nature and away from crowds so Paris is not my first choice.

Thanks for all the info, I never really considered moving to the UK as I heard early on how hard it was to get in.


1,753 Posts

Specializes in Surgical, quality,management. Has 12 years experience.

Hi, if you are looking for nature in Ireland then once you are outside of Dublin you can have it on your doorstep and still have an OK commute to a job.

I believe that An Bord Altranis requires 7.5 in each area of the IELTS for registration. Not sure of the other requirements but I would hazzard a guess at requiring a BSc as that has been the undergraduate requirement for 14 years now.

Best of luck with your move.

*check out the Wild Atlantic Way for some amazing natural beauty.