Nursing in France

by bambi007 (New) New

Is there anyone who can fill me in on RN jobs in France. I prefer the city hospiitals, I work in ICU currently. I have many years exp in Med Surg also. Would like to hear from someone. If you know about pay scale and such include that also. Thanks, bambi007;)

suzanne4, RN

26,410 Posts

First of all, are you fluent in French?


122 Posts

I dont know if she is, but I am, and am going to france this month to be with my husband while we work out immigration paperwork. If our appeals dont work out, I may go to school there. I am very interested in hearing from ANYONE who has worked in a hospital in france, what their experience was


88 Posts

I dont know if she is, but I am, and am going to france this month to be with my husband while we work out immigration paperwork. If our appeals dont work out, I may go to school there. I am very interested in hearing from ANYONE who has worked in a hospital in france, what their experience was

Hi !

I can't believe you guys are going to France! Ok, let me tell you a little bit about it....I went to school there (I'm now in Montreal), worked 2 months, then moved to Geneva...Work in France is great, good pay (depends where you are), 35hrs a week, but I don't like the way people think...they was too stubborn for me! If I were you I would move to France and work in could make a LOT more money that way!!!! That's what I'm gonna do soon...

Feel free to ask me anything!!

Good luck!

PS: What part of France are you going to?

jayna, RN

269 Posts

Geneva!!!! How I love that place.

Yeah swiss salary is very reasonable but Switzerland is one h*** of an expensive country. Was there in 2001 loved it. Looking forward to go there anytime soon.

Suggest stay in France territory near the swiss border (geneva) and commute to Geneva to work, that would be less expensive.

Good luck.


88 Posts

Yeah, you're totally right, I think that's what I'm going to is less expensive in France!!


Specializes in Oncology, ID, Hepatology, Occy Health. Has 36 years experience. 468 Posts

I've lived and worked in France since 2001.

To register your qualification here you need to go in person to your local health and social security department (listed in the yellow pages as the DDASS). You must speak fluent French, and if you don't you will be refused registration as an IDE (Infirmier Diplômé d'Etat). People with European Union qualifications have the right to register straight off. You must present your original certificates with a French translation stamped by an official interpreter approved by your embassy. Others often need to work as Aide Soignants (nurses aides, care assistants) while they work for the French qualification.

Compared to my homeland (the UK) nursing here is paradise. They think they have a crisis, but it's nothing compared to the UK. The public health system here repeatedly comes top of international league tables and it's easy to see why. It's well funded and well resourced. Things such as waiting lists for surgery just don't exist as they do in the UK.

Everyone in France works a 35 hour week. Holiday entitlements are good (around six weeks plus the 13 public holidays). Pay is not amazing, but you earn enough to live on and the benefits are good (pension, travel allowance etc.) Public hospitals have a reputation for paying better than private clinics, who often skimp to make their profit. The public sector functions in an almost "money no object" fashion, which is beginning to change. Taxes here are high, but you get what you pay for - a good health service, good schools, excellent public transport and civic amenities.

Most nurses work a fixed shift (mornings, afternoons or nights) with some places having implemented the long day/night (12 hours). Your meal breaks are paid, and many hospitals provide you with a free meal on duty. Very few places have shift rotation between night and day like in the UK. You're usually either a morning nurse, an afternoon nurse or a night nurse. IDE (registered nurse) levels are low but you always have a good number of Aide soignants to support you, and they are trained to a high level - they can generally be trusted to get on with the basic care. The nurses job here is more focused on the technical tasks - drugs, IVs, bloods etc. Nursing here is still very task orientated (something I personally like). Nurses here are very efficient, but perhaps lack the 'personal touch' of anglo-saxon culture. It's a different relationship here - the patient sees you more as a professional and maintains an almost formal respect which I think British patients no longer have.

In larger cities agency nursing is possible and is well paid. The shortage of nurses here means there is always agency work. Recruitment of foreign nurses is becoming increasingly common.

Many nurses here set up in their own practices (Infirmiers libérals) You go to these nurses with all your prescptions for things like dresings, injections etc. Practice nurses don't exist and less happens in outpatients than in the UK, so these nurses fulfil that role, as well as providing homecare like the British district nurse.

If you speak English there are increasingly opprtunities for bi-lingual nurses in international companies and NGO's. There are both an American and a Franco-British hospital just outside Paris catering largely to ex-pats. Bi-lingual posts always pay better, you can really sell your English here, but you must speak good French too.

Personally, I love life here and would recomend it to anybody. The French, I feel, get an unfairly bad press abroad. Once you penetrate this society you realise what a warm race of people they are. The pace of life here (even in Paris) is slow and civilised. There is a very rich cultural life here and the food and wine of course are unbeatable. Working life is very civilised; due to the socialist cullture and strong unions things are very much weighted in the employees favour. Nursing care here is good; medical standards are high. I would say go for it.

traumaRUs, MSN, APRN, CNS

Specializes in Nephrology, Cardiology, ER, ICU. Has 30 years experience. 163 Articles; 21,072 Posts

Whoa - where do I sign up??? Let's see - no one spitting on me, no one attempting to hit me, no one swearing at me!!!! Whew - I'm out the door to learn French!


99 Posts

I was so happy to see this topic posted and funny enough, my husband & I were talking about this very subject! I was saying that once I get my RN license, we should move to France for awhile (husband is British so we can actually do that). We both have a "working" ability of French and plan to brush up on it just in case. I have a very close friend living in Paris, and both my husband & I have been many times. As a matter of fact, we were engaged there! We'll be spending this Christmas in France in a little chateau that his uncle recently purchased. So maybe one day, I'll see y'all there! :)

Best wishes!


johnathan crisp

6 Posts

Thanks for all the information regarding working in France. Luckily had an old copy of french yellow pages so have just found the local DDASS office so can now find out what documentation they require from me!

My family and I are moving out September this year so I need to get this all sorted! I am now panicking as I cannot find my old nursing qualification certificate...


2 Posts

Thanks for the information above it is very useful and helpful to know!

I would really like to move to France with my partner in about 5 years time. My partner and I both work in mental health, he is a care assistant and I am training to be a nurse. I just wondered if anyone knows if there are a lot of psychiatric hospitals in France and how I would find out where they are and such like. Plus is the nursing the same as mentioned above for psychiatric hospitals or different? How different is the pay rates too? We both work on agencies full time in England at the moment which pays quite well, is it very different over there?


56 Posts

Oh wow, how good it is to hear y'all talking about my country in such a warm manner! :Melody: So I am a french nurse living and working in South of France. It will be my pleasure to answer your questions if I am able to do it. :balloons:

As said above, we have public (hopital) or private (clinique) estabishments. Generally public pays better than private. But it depends on the convention of the clinic. Some pay a lot but you find them around Paris, not in small town. This is the same for psychiatric care. We have agencies too (interim) that propose you some long or short assignments in private establishments. This is what I am doing for 9 months now. This is a great choice, because due to the shortage you always have a lot of choice and you are your own boss. I decide the days I want to work or to rest, the shift I want to work, I am doing night shift, and I decide the units and clinics where I want or not to go. I earn the salary of the nurse I are supposed to replace, plus 10% for end of contract, plus 10% of insecurity prime. Now if you want to have an idea of salary, I can tell mine, but it will be just an information because it increases with lenght of service. This is something you should negociate with your employer. So, I am 4 years of service, and when I was working full time in surgery in clinic, I was making 1500 euros per month. When you work at night, you earn 10 more %. As a "intérimaire" (agency nurse) at night, I am making 1950 euros per month for surgery. Here is the most popular agencies ; and . You have assignments in French islands too! You earn more in ICU (réanimation). Oh I have to say this is what you keep in pocket after taxes to be paid. You are paid once a month. You might think it is very a small amount, but you have to see it in the context of the life. Appartments here are very cheaper than in America. I am living by the sea in 80 m² with 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, living room, kitchen and balcony, a place for my car, for 400 euros per month. The taxes taken off your salary monthly serve to pay for your health insurance company, retirement and unemployment. For exemple, I had an accident of exposition to blood 2 weeks ago with a needle. So I had to have a blood test for hepatitis and HIV, and made it for free. It will be done 1month, 3 months and 6 months after and if I had to start a treatment it will be all for free. When patient go to visit a doctor, the price is 20 euros but you will have 70% of your money back a week later by social security. So finaly life is pretty sweet.

Now about being a foreign nurse in France, we are used to hire Spanish nurses. I have worked with some of them. Usualy nurses are nice with them and helpful. Of course doctors are less patient but if your french is not bad and you are doing a great job, they will trust you pretty quickly.

This is the adress of a very good french website, the most famous, where you could find a lot of news and a great forum :

Some talked about Switzerland, this is great just in case you are living in France and working in Switzerland because you will earn 2,5 the salary, but life is very very expensive there and you do not have the same benefits!!!

Voilà !!! I hope this help. Let me know if I can help. Where in France would you like to live? I hope everything will be Ok for you,

à bientôt et bonne chance !

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