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New grad military spouse RN moving to UK

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by h_bates23 h_bates23 (New Member) New Member

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I have graduated from an accelerated BSN program in May, and passed my NCLEX in June (woohoo!). My husband is in the military, has just gotten orders to the UK, and will be moving in three months. I would like to be able to go with him, but as a new grad nurse with no experience, it seems that I won't be able to get a license in the UK. In addition, it seems that the accelerated program does not provide enough clinical hours to qualify for registration with the UK. Has anybody been able to overcome these issues? As far as I know, I don't think that there are any American bases over there that offer military spouse preference for jobs. I would hate to miss out on the opportunity to live in England, so I am considering grabbing life by the horns and just going for it. I am thinking about taking continuing education courses and volunteering with a local hospital while working a different sort of entry level position, so that I might be able to get a job in 3 years when we return to the states. Any advice or insight?

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emmy27 specializes in ER, Med-surg.

454 Posts; 7,989 Profile Views

I believe Lakenheath has a hospital, although how many if any civilian nurses they employ I don't know. Depending on the size of the post where you're stationed, there will probably be an employment and education office for dependents that can help you find either a path to employment or volunteering that will keep your resume in shape.

I totally understand your desire to go to the UK immediately (and I would want to, as well) but give serious thought to the fact that finding employment as a new grad with no nursing experience and a 3+ year break since graduation may be very, very difficult, and you may also find retaining competency in your skills for that duration difficult when you never had a chance to use them in real practice, and had a compressed clinical experience in the first place. Staying behind for a few months and getting at least 6-12 months of practice under your belt before you leave, even somewhere less glamorous like a SNF that will hire you quickly, would make your life and the rest of your career run much more smoothly than trying to pause your career before you even start. It might be rough (I know I've hated every separation the military has imposed between me and my husband) but it would pay dividends in your long-term marketability, competence, and earning power.

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Thank you for your advice! I am currently looking into Nursing Jobs that might offer the opportunity to work from home overseas while utilizing my American license, such as working for an insurance company. We'll see what turns up on that front, although I suspect experience will be necessary for that as well. I am also trying to find a contact that might be able to give me some insight as to whether I would be able to find a job on base out there. It sounds like gaining a few months of experience before leaving might be my best shot though. The final thought I had was that the VA may be more understanding of this situation if I apply after I get back. Looks like I will be making some phone calls! Thanks again!

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Carol_NeuroRN, I was not. The UK requires 12 months of experience (and some time, money, a few exams, a visa, and a national insurance number) to work as an RN as a foreigner. I didn’t have the experience, so that was the end of the road for me. If you do have experience, they’re extremely short on nursing staff, so it shouldn’t be difficult to find a job (fair warning-they’re significantly underpaid and overworked superheroes). Lakenheath has a hospital, but I think it is very difficult to get hired as a civilian. They have an American Red Cross volunteer program that it seems like a lot of civilian nurses start with and it can eventually lead to a paid position at the hospital. I believe there is a pretty long waiting list for volunteer nurses though. Please let me know if you have any more questions. I’m happy to help if I can. 

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30 Posts; 1,754 Profile Views

@Hilary Bates thanks for updating! It sucks you couldn't get an RN job

I will be joining my spouse (DOD civillian working for USAF at Lakenheath) after graduating from nursing school in a year and a half. We did discuss me working somewhere for 6 months to a year and going through a new grad RN program- so it's still on the table, but it would mean another big chunk of time apart, living (and paying rent) in two separate places... 

Unlike like @Carol_NeuroRN I won't have any experience (other than CNA), but I know I will already have a work visa!

Right now, it looks like an applicant might not need the 12 month experience requirement- it seems they've made a bunch of changes to try to make it easier. Maybe it's reflecting on the impact of Brexit? But things will change, and change again- this site also says in early 2020 they're changing the competency exam (scroll to the bottom):

https://www.nmc.org.uk/registration/joining-the-register/register-nurse-midwife/trained-outside-the-eueea/reviewing-our-overseas-registration-process/future-changes/ 

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