US RN to UK - agency or direct?

  1. Hey! I'm an RN in the U.S. and am looking to work in the U.K. Would anyone happen to know anything about the process of a foreign-prepared nurse getting hired in the U.K.? From what I've seen it seems there are two routes; getting hired through an agency/travel company or getting hired and sponsored by a hospital in the U.K. directly. I'm undecided (given the fact that I know little) about which path would be best to pursue, as there seem to be few reputable travel agencies and I'm not sure how I'd best go about trying to contact a hospital directly.

    Would anyone who has done this before have any recommendations? I've heard more stories about agencies doing more harm than good, but I wouldn't know the process for trying to get hired by a hospital directly.

    Thanks in advance,
    Kaitlyn
  2. Visit kaitfinder profile page

    About kaitfinder, BSN, RN

    Joined: Dec '17; Posts: 17; Likes: 8

    13 Comments

  3. by   Apple-Core
    NHS Jobs - Applying from Overseas

    I moved from Canada to be a nurse in the UK – but now I want to quit | Healthcare Professionals Network | The Guardian

    That second link is from a Canadian nurse. Fair warning - you'll be in for a huge shock when you see what is expected (or rather not expected) of UK nurses and what they are paid. They are heavily subservient to the Docs - not because they don't have the skills, but the ethos of the British culture just deems it that way. The NHS could benefit hugely if they adopted a system that values nurses the way the USA and Canada does - all that knowledge and skill being suppressed. It makes my blood boil. I bow down to the UK nurses - they truly are undervalued and horribly compensated in a system that is stretched so thin you can see through it.

    Sorry if I'm raining on your parade - just being realistic. Best of luck to you though - they need skilled nurses who will speak out!
  4. by   kaitfinder
    Quote from Apple-Core
    NHS Jobs - Applying from Overseas

    I moved from Canada to be a nurse in the UK – but now I want to quit | Healthcare Professionals Network | The Guardian

    That second link is from a Canadian nurse. Fair warning - you'll be in for a huge shock when you see what is expected (or rather not expected) of UK nurses and what they are paid. They are heavily subservient to the Docs - not because they don't have the skills, but the ethos of the British culture just deems it that way. The NHS could benefit hugely if they adopted a system that values nurses the way the USA and Canada does - all that knowledge and skill being suppressed. It makes my blood boil. I bow down to the UK nurses - they truly are undervalued and horribly compensated in a system that is stretched so thin you can see through it.

    Sorry if I'm raining on your parade - just being realistic. Best of luck to you though - they need skilled nurses who will speak out!
    It's all good, thanks for the info! I'm looking to work in the ED (A&E there I think,) as that's my preferred specialty in the US, and from what I've read/been told, nurses in A&E in the UK are allowed more freedom and latitude. And yeah, I've heard about the lower compensation. Thanks for the info! Are you in the U.K., and if so, do you have any other advice?

    Thanks again!
  5. by   Apple-Core
    Yes, the nurses in the ER will be allowed more latitude, basically because there isn't the time to stand around waiting for a doc to decide. But still, the entire ethos is built to suppress the nurses, IMHO. The pay is disgraceful, quite frankly. And the cost of living is high. So all in all, it is not easy being a nurse in the UK, and that is before you account for the dreary weather. LOL!

    I'm British, but I no longer live there. I couldn't stand the mentality. In many ways it is wonderful...people are much more polite and courteous than here in the USA, and there is far less "me-ism" and much more consideration for others. On the other hand there is a general weariness that permeates the culture - almost like they can't stand for people to try and better themselves. In America, that is encouraged - the American Dream is for anyone who wants it, basically. In the UK, I felt if you tried to climb the ladder there were 1000s of people ready to jump on your back and drag you back down. But, this is all subjective of course. There is so much to love about the country - I miss it and loathe it all in one go!

    As for the NHS, it is tied into the dreadful class system that still pervades the UK. Hence the hierarchy of the doctors and nurses. Nurses, IMO, are seen as servants ready to carry out the doctors orders and little else. Again - not because they don't know how - these are highly educated and trained professionals. I just feel that the culture restrains them from flourishing. Aside from the fact that they are spread so thinly they have little time to "think critically". The NHS has been brought to its knees by the "medical tourist" - those who fly in for their care, stay, then leave without paying any bills for being outside the system. It's so sad. I hate what has happened to the country I love so much, but I could no longer tolerate the **** I saw.

    It's definitely worth it though if you want the experience, if for no other reason than to realize just how well respected and paid the US nurses are in comparison. When you consider the grumbles we have here, it makes you realize just how awful it must be for the UK nurses - or worse still, in a 2nd or 3rd world country!!!
  6. by   kaitfinder
    Yeah, I've heard about the cost of living as well. And the weather ahaha. Even so, I don't mind taking a pay cut and whatever else because I only plan on staying for maybe 2-3 years. Quite frankly, I'm tired of some of the mentality I've come across in the US. I work in the southern U.S. with a low income, low health-literacy population, and I'm certain this isn't the case everywhere, but the entitlement and consumerism I see here is tiring. At least in this region, healthcare seems to be treated like retail, with patients often attempting to demand what care they will receive instead of what is indicated (this is in the ER, mind you). In my personal experience, it feels like the "American Dream" has been corrupted into a very materialistic and embittering mindset. Maybe I'm just jaded, but I'm interested in working somewhere else to get a little perspective, if only for a short while.

    In any case, it looks like it's pretty straightforward as far as applying is concerned, I suppose? Thanks for the input and the links, it's greatly appreciated!
  7. by   Apple-Core
    From what I've heard, I don't think the consumer mentality approach to healthcare is restricted to just the south, sadly. Well, I think your plan is fabulous if it's short-term - in fact, you could even spread further afield and work your way through Europe if you can cut through the red-tape. Be an amazing experience. Where in the UK are you looking to move to? The north is much more affordable.
  8. by   kaitfinder
    Bummer to hear that it's more widespread than just the south :/ it seems to me to be a by-product of hospital funding being dependent on positive patient (read: consumer) reviews, so it creates this need for the hospital to placate patients as much as possible to help foster good reviews for their visits. In any case, I'm sure there will be a little of that attitude no matter what country you practice in. I've considered using the U.K. as launchpad for further practice/travel to other countries, but that remains to be seen at this point.

    I'm actually looking to move in part because my significant other lives there, so we were hoping somewhere near/around Oxford. From what I've heard, the north is more affordable but there seems to be more to do leisure-wise in the south, on top of reports of the NHS being better/more advanced in the south? I was considering one of the OUH's, but as stated previously, unsure of whether I should go through an agency (which would front initial costs for applications/testing etc. as well as assist with finding placement) vs approaching a hospital with vacancies listed directly (ensures a little more control over placement but potentially more costly, plus I don't at this point know what questions to ask).
  9. by   Apple-Core
    Oooooooh - well if you have a S.O. who lives there, then that puts a whole different spin on things. LOL! I can understand the desire to go now. Yeah, the consumer reviews are country-wide, and I believe you'll hear the same concerns from RNs in every state. And of course, the bottom line is it is all about the money. Oxford is gorgeous, although expensive. Regarding things to do - well, yes, the bigger cities will always have more entertainment. It depends what your interests are. The further north you head, the more rural places you will find, for the most part. If you love to hike and be out in the fells then the north is the place to be. Generally the more advanced hospitals will be in the south because they are attached to Universities etc, but the north is equally funded based on volume of people. I don't think there is a huge difference, certainly not in my experience.

    Could you just randomly write to some hospitals and see what they suggest?? At least that would gibe you a starting point.
  10. by   kaitfinder
    It's definitely a big motivator ahaha, but I love traveling and would probably have tried to do some sort of abroad nursing at some point anyway. Sad to hear that it seems like a pervasive mindset in the U.S.; another reason I'm interested in seeing how things are in a hospital system funded differently!

    Yeah we were hoping to live just outside and commute, but anyway that's all up in the air right now! I actually had been to one of the hospitals there by chance (John Radcliffe?) and was impressed by how nice it was, hence my consideration for hospitals in that area. I generally like a good mix of city and rural, but live in a huge city in the U.S. at the moment so most cities would be smaller than where I am now hahaha.

    I've thought about emailing some hospitals to see, I'm just trying to gather as much information as possible before I approach them! Plus I'm not totally sure who/what department would be best to contact so I'm still investigating.
  11. by   Sending
    Hmm! Hopefully their will be a revival in the near future in the way the UK treats their nurses. But if it's for the experience then I would say firstly get on the NMC's register as you will need a PIN number to work as an RN in the U.K. Then join an agency as the pay rate will be a bit more encouraging. Their are hundreds of agencies waiting to scoop Nurses at the moment as the UK is badly in need of healthcare professionals. A good agency is ID Medical as they are reliable with shifts practically anywhere in the UK. All the best and I hope the experience is a good one for you.
  12. by   kaitfinder
    Thanks for the tip! A number of agencies come up when I google, but it's difficult to vet them. Do you know anything about MSI Group? ( Nursing Agencies. Nurse jobs, ahp jobs & more. | MSI Recruitment )
  13. by   kaitfinder
    *bump*
  14. by   Snoopy4
    Hi Kaitfinder, my situation is very similar to yours! I have 1.5 years of experience as an ICU nurse in California. My S.O. is moving to London at the end of the year, and I'd like to find work as a nurse in the same area. I'm currently researching how to go about finding employment abroad. Did you end up going through an agency or did you seek employment directly? Both my S.O and I plan to work in London for a few years and then return to the US. Any tips and insight is greatly appreciated. Thanks!

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