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kaitfinder BSN, RN

USA Emergency Nurse, now RN in the UK
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kaitfinder is a BSN, RN and specializes in USA Emergency Nurse, now RN in the UK.

kaitfinder's Latest Activity

  1. kaitfinder

    Hospital Shifts - Days, Nights, or Both?

    Hello, I am curious to know what shifts are like for other nurses who work in hospitals in the UK. At my current facility, I work in the Emergency Department and all staff (CSWs and nurses) are required to work both 12 hour day shifts and night shifts starting from 7:30AM/PM. We are required to work both days and nights on no set organized system; can be on 3 weeks of days and then a week of nights, or days for one week, nights for the next, then days again after that, then back on nights. Can also have two nights in a week, then a single day shift, then back on nights. I am curious to know what shifts are like in other hospitals. Do you work only one type of shift (nights or days)? Are there any unit "rules" regarding how often you get switched to and from nights and back to days? If you wouldn't mind including what type of unit you work on as well I would be very interested. Best, Kaitlyn
  2. Hey! I have an active nursing license in the state of GA, and am an American citizen. I recently (Jan 2019) moved to the UK to work as an RN and have been working here since February 2019. I am trying to renew my USA GA license and am curious if anyone else has done this process. The GA board of nursing offers a few options for renewing your license, one of which is working 500 hours. I have worked well over that in the UK and was hoping someone would know if they would accept the 500 hour form to be filled out by my UK hospital? Or any other tips on renewing your license when you're out of country.
  3. kaitfinder

    American Nurses in U.K

    The link @Silverdragon102 posted is correct, more or less. The pay is actually much less than what I received in the US but I make up most of the difference by not having to pay health insurance, low car maintenance costs, cost of my personal living, etc. You can pay off debt on this salary, but it would depend on how much debt you have and how quickly you're trying to pay it off. If it's debt you accrued in America from schooling I can probably assume it's not a small amount, so definitely consider how much you'll be able to pay off on a £23500 yearly wage with at least £500 for rent/utilities. I actually find fresh food to be more expensive in most areas with less selection and poorer quality of fresh produce than I previously found. I used to live in Atlanta near a large farmers' market that generally was cheaper with better quality. However, meat prices in the UK are cheaper and the quality of the meat in the UK is much, much better. Just a quick note about vacation, I get 5 weeks paid vacation yearly at a minimum. Far more than the 2 weeks I was getting in America. When you only work 3 days a week, this adds up pretty fast. EU freedom of movement doesn't really affect you if you're coming from a country outside the EU, so I wouldn't worry about it if that's you.
  4. kaitfinder

    American Nurses in U.K

    Oxford has a more expensive cost of living than other places as it's a major city that is fairly affluent, however you can still find cheaper places to live, especially if you live outside the city center. Also if you have a roommate it makes it much more cheap. The expensive part is the housing; food and utilities are roughly the same or cheaper if you know where to shop than they were in America. Gas (petrol) is more expensive, if you plan on having a car. It's not necessary to have a car, as public transportation is readily available in most areas. Compared to America, it is fairly safe, as safe as most anywhere in the UK. Guns aren't legal and generally violent crime feels fairly low in Oxford. As a female, I feel much safer than I did in most places I lived in America. Of course there are more dangerous areas of every city and common sense is necessary but overall it feels safer, especially outside the city. I often see younger (10 years old? 12 maybe?) walking to and from school without an adult. Don't know the per capita crime rates but personally I feel more safe. @Temi1234 Also, if you get a work visa as a nurse in the UK you can only work as a nurse, no side jobs aside from that. However, you can do extra work as a nurse as long as you stay under contract with the hospital who signed your Certificate of Sponsorship (required to secure a visa).
  5. kaitfinder

    American Nurses in U.K

    Hey! Yes you can apply for permanent citizenship. To do so, you first must apply for Indefinite Leave To Remain and then, once granted, apply for UK citizenship. To apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain you must have had permanent residence in the UK for at least 5 years. You do not need to be a citizen or have indefinite leave to remain to practice as a nurse in the UK.
  6. kaitfinder

    American Nurses in U.K

    @babyNP. That is true, there is a £400/yr of visa charge; it’s called the Immigration Health Surcharge Fee and is required in order to use the NHS facilities as a resident. However, most hospitals will pay this fee on your behalf, as well as your visa application fee. Try to search for a hospital trust that will pay this. The IHS fee has been around for many years, however they just recently (June? Sometime in 2019) increased it from £200 to £400. For example, a work visa tier 2 (standard for nursing) is a 3 year work visa; erego, the IHS fee would be £1200. If you decide to take up permanent residence in the UK and apply for permanent leave to remain, you no longer have to pay the IHS fee.
  7. kaitfinder

    US RN moving to London UK

    @KDRN1212 Hey! Yeah, it's definitely frustrating with the NMC. They didn't take umbridge with not having an actual certificate because the GA board of nursing issues a document but you just print it out from online and they wanted an official piece of documentation, which Georgia doesn't issue. It will be fine and they will accept it, as long as there isn't an actual piece of official documentation. Basically, it's the equivalent of only having a digital certificate for your degree. They want to see the actual certificate, but if it doesn't exist, they'll accept the digital printed version. They delayed my OSCE results while they researched it to ensure Georgia's board of nursing didn't offer such a document, but otherwise gave me no issues. The issue just stems from the fact that SOME states do offer genuine certificates, and others don't. You'll get there eventually! They can't reject you just because your state's board of nursing doesn't offer that type of documentation. Also, no problem! It was really frustrating for me and I was operating in the dark most of the time, so I'm happy to help! -Kaitlyn
  8. kaitfinder

    American Nurses in U.K

    Oops, sorry, I mispoke! I was working nights at the time and wasn't thorough enough in my explanation, @GrumpyRN explains the healthcare system in the UK very well. It is free at the point of use, you do end up paying for it through taxes, however you are correct, it is infinitely easier to pay for financially. I had a medical scare in America before I moved where an emergency department visit with CT head, MRI with contrast, labs, and overnight stay landed me with a bill of $14,000. Luckily insurance kicked in, but that's a huge number. I have many praises for the NHS for many reasons, let alone the cost. Prescriptions I believe you pay £9 for now (per perscription) and if you get repeat prescriptions they have various payment plans etc. to lower the cost as needed if you qualify. No deductibles or co-pays, no caps on how much they'll cover. And like Grumpy said, 7wks minimum vacation (as opposed to the 2 weeks I got in America) and sick leave and I think 6 months paid maternity leave? Very worth it.
  9. kaitfinder

    US RN moving to London UK

    Hey @jenna_m! Uhhh yeah the process of sending all the documents to the NMC is a HUGE pain, if only because, like you, getting the documents from my university and state board of nursing (I was only licensed in Georgia, so luckily only had to get them to send the documents to the NMC, but if you've worked in multiple states or held a nursing license in multiple states, they will need documentation from EACH board of nursing in each state). It definitely took me several months and a lot of emails and calls to stay on top of my university about it. My board of nursing was pretty good about getting things done and I included my contact info in case they had any questions, but it was never an issue and I could call them from time to time to see where they were in the process. It might have taken 2-3 weeks I guess? But I'm not sure as I don't know exactly when they completed everything. My university took WAY longer, but they also completely forgot about my stuff and I had to go down there in person several times to bother them about it (I was doing this during the off season [summer] but luckily I still lived in Atlanta where I went to nursing school so I could actually go to the school itself if I needed to). They completely lost my first set of documentation and so it took maybe 4-5 weeks for them. Then it takes maybe a week or two to get the documents TO the NMC by mail, and have them processed and entered in the system. You can check the status of your NMC application online and I think you can also call them to see which paper documents they've received. I think they also send you an email when they've received anything and what else they need? Definitely call the NMC if you have any questions, they're very good. You still need to complete the OSCE so you won't find a complete answer from them, and you'll need to bring the originals of several documents (birth certificate, school of nursing diploma, nursing license, etc.) after you complete your OSCE for them to confirm with the documents you've sent them. Also, my board of nursing (Georgia) doesn't provide an actual official Nursing License paper? You can check the status online and print a paper one yourself from online, but there's no official piece of original documentation that's sent to you, and the NMC was unhappy about that but every state does it differently so if you don't have something like that, don't worry, they'll just check to make sure that doesn't actually exist and it won't be a problem. Start early rather than later, keep hounding and keep track of who still needs to provide what documents and don't be afraid to call them about it, because people WILL forget and it can get lost. It's a waiting game, but don't get discouraged! Good luck! Hey @onemoreday! You're correct in that you're more likely to get a job as an RN than a CNA! Learn a lot in school and start asking around for jobs now to see if they'd be willing to hire new grads in the UK! They didn't used to (requiring 1-2yrs minimum experience) however that's changing and some places are starting to offer new grad international programs that are worth investigating.
  10. kaitfinder

    American Nurses in U.K

    @NurseTBSN @We'veGotSpirit Working conditions are okay. The NHS is underfunded compared to the privatized healthcare system in America so they don't always have the nicest toys/equipment, but they get the job done and heavily utilize evidence based practice to provide the best care they can for the patients. Hospitals can be run-down, depending on where in the country you're working. Generally, in my experience, the north of England is a bit more underfunded and the south better funded. To be honest, I really enjoy British culture. It's a much more relaxed lifestyle, and the British themselves seem to have a very rigid set of morals and responsibility that makes living here very nice. There's a general attitude of respect for one's community. There are downsides as well, but ones I don't mind living with. Not sure what you mean about culture exactly, but many of the stereotypes in America about the British (stuffy, pompous, etc.) aren't that true, at least where I live. Pay vs cost of living of course differs based on where you live. Bigger cities like Oxford (where I live) and London will have much higher costs of living than smaller ones. You can still live comfortably, however, especially if you have a roommate. I'm not much of a spender anyway and don't find it difficult to save my money, and I also don't care about nice cars or newest technology or whatever, so it's fine for me. I live just outside Oxford and commute about 20-25 minutes by car and it's much cheaper than living inside Oxford. I do have coworkers, however, who pay the same amount in rent as I do with roommates and live about 10mins walk from work. Seems about the same in England as it is in the US. Also you don't have to pay for health insurance and if you utilize the public transportation, it's cheaper than having a car. Also used cars are cheap here as well. Don't know best places to work exactly as I've only worked in Oxford, and it depends on your speciality. I'm an Emergency nurse so I went for a large level 1 trauma center because that's what I enjoy. Depending on your specialty, different hospitals would be better for you. The weather is nicer in the south of England, and the hospitals are a bit more advanced down here as well, but sometimes you can find jobs that pay more in the north of England because they're so short staffed. Up to you to do your own research as far as that's concerned. Just depends on what you value. Agency nursing does pay more just like agency nursing in the US. It has the same drawbacks as the US as well. There aren't really benefits in the UK NHS? Healthcare is free so you don't pay health insurance, dental care you pay a flat rate of like £30-40 for whatever you need. Eye care is part of healthcare. Car insurance is separate? Pension comes out of your paycheck and there are other plans similar to 401k but I haven't looked into that too much. Loads of places will do menial discounts if you're an NHS employee so restaurant/event discounts. You do get paid less but given I don't have to pay health insurance etc it's not too much less money and I can use pool/bank nursing to fill the gaps. This is where you pick up extra shifts on a unit that is short for an increased base rate of pay. Usually 50-100% increase. Sometimes that means you work in a unit that's not your own but I don't mind. Also vacation is 7 weeks in the UK for NHS employees and goes up from there depending on how long you've worked for the NHS. Much better than the 2 weeks you get in America. I don't know wha t to do with all the extra time so sometimes I take a week off (you get paid your regular base pay during vacation time) and then work regular bank/pool shifts to make extra, so it evens out. I don't know what your pay is in NYC but I lived/worked in Atlanta so that's my frame of reference.
  11. kaitfinder

    US RN moving to London UK

    @yamilet Yea the info available is minimal and outdated at best. I found it unbelievably frustrating during my process, so I'm glad I can shed some light on it from the other end. It is also difficult to find USA -> UK nursing info as most nurses go the other way around lol As far as scope of practice, it's as I've said before and doctors do take more of a role in performing skills than I was used to. Where I worked, you didn't call a doctor to place an IV because the nurse was the most skilled at placing them; we even were receiving training for ultrasound-guided IV placement. You only called a doctor if you needed a central line or sometimes an IJ (some states don't legally consider this within the scope of practice for an RN). Here, nurses mostly put them in if you work in a higher acuity area like A&E (ED), ICU, etc. but otherwise it seems doctors place them. To be fair, this is similar to my experience with American ward nursing as nurses on wards rarely placed IVs and usually called an IV team, ED nurse, or junior doctor to place them. So not much different from my personal experience, but you may have a different perspective. Nurses aren't allowed to do ABGs here either, so doctors will be called for that as well. VBGs are extremely common and done by nurses. UK nursing does emphasize critical thinking (and is absolutely expected in higher acuity areas) but they focus more on identifying poor presentation and quickly notifying the doctors rather than necessarily expecting the nurse to know what's going. From what I can understand, UK nursing programs are more and more de-clinicalizing (losing as much emphasis on anatomy and physiology, pharmacology, pathophysiology, etc and placing more emphasis on social care, "patient centered care" etc), much to the frustration, I am finding, of most nursing students that I see on my unit. It seems possible they are doing this in an effort to squeeze out more nurses, possibly by lowering the difficulty threshold, due to the nursing shortage. Not sure if this is actually the case since they state it's as a result of trying to make it more of a degree-based program (???), but there you have it. Frustrating because from my experience, the NHS is staffed by about 50% foreign (EU or outside EU) nurses who pretty much all base their nursing standards of practice and nursing programs on American guidelines. Remains to be seen how the NHS will fair post-Brexit purely from the standpoint of many of my fellow EU nurse coworkers are choosing to return to their home countries. Nursing in the UK is definitely above minimum wage, just not by as much as I was used to in the US. You can also make more money - if you apply for a more advanced nursing position. You don't make more money based on your years of experience, only if you move up in Band (here's a link that briefly describes the way pay works in the NHS https://www.healthstaffrecruitment.co.uk/news/different-nhs-nursing-bands-scales/ ) To be honest, anywhere in the south of England is a good choice. The NHS is better funded in the south, there are more resources/advanced hospitals, and the weather is better. London is good, but cost of living is higher there as well. Up to you to decide what you prefer: bigger city life with higher cost of living and only slightly higher pay, or vice versa. One other thing about agencies: try to find one that gives you the most benefits with the hospitals they represent. You want to find one that offers to pay for OSCe and visa, mine also paid for my flight over and the first 3 months of housing. Feel free to branch out to several and see what they can offer you; much like job hunting anywhere else, it's good to have options. I can't see them turning you down because they desperately need nurses and love American nurses so as long as your qualifications are good and your interview/references are good, you should be fine. They focus heavily on "patient centered care" here so make sure you prepare for your interviews with that in mind. -Kaitlyn
  12. kaitfinder

    US RN moving to London UK

    Hey @yamilet ! No problem, I don't mind the questions! Some things I have learned about working for the NHS from a USA-prepared nurse perspective: The NHS is short staffed. Likely more short staffed than the USA. However, nursing is short staffed pretty much the world over, indicated by the fact that many countries include nursing on a short list of occupations that will easily earn you a work visa since they're needed so badly (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/immigration-rules/immigration-rules-appendix-k-shortage-occupation-list here's the list for the UK, in case you're curious, just scroll to table 1). Pretty much every area of nursing in the UK is short staffed, but some are worse than others. Truthfully, it doesn't feel that much worse off than my experience in the US. I work in a major hospital in Emergency care. The NHS does pay its nurses less than most countries; you can get paid significantly more if you work in a nursing home that is privatized or private hospital, but any sort of acute hospital nursing is not really available in private facilities and those patients will often get transferred to NHS run hospitals for acute management, so it depends on your personal interest. There are public health/community nurses in the UK and they do an extensive amount of work, but as I work in the hospital I have minimal knowledge/understanding for how that type of nursing is and how it compares to my (limited) understanding of community nursing in America. Many hospitals have a bank/pool system where you can pick up "short" shifts that the hospital releases and will pay an increased hourly rate to fill need for, so there is some opportunity to make more money if you need to. The short staffing is at times frustrating, but I find myself in situations where we are short staffed to the point where it causes a detriment to my ability to function as a nurse minimal, and roughly at the same amount as I did in America. What I do find frustrating is the scope of practice for nurses in the UK is below that of most other countries (many countries in the EU base their nursing programs and guidelines on American guidelines and nursing standards of practice, whereas the UK writes their own). Nurses in the UK are more social care than they are clinical; bear in mind that I work in Emergency and thus am used to a higher degree of clinical scope and management than a general ward/unit nurse. From what I have seen, ward nursing appears to be roughly the same in the UK as in America, with the exception that nurses in the UK are ubiquitously not trained or expected to use a stethoscope and generally are expected to be less clinically prepared/knowledgeable. I find this very frustrating but other USA nurses do not always feel the same. Personally, however, I do find it easier to work for the NHS/UK in general as the healthcare system is public and thus accessible to all patients regardless of income or ability to pay, something I have much respect for. Social care and community care is far more advanced and managed better than in the USA, as the NHS has a vested interest in spending as little money as possible. They accomplish this in part by focusing on primary care and care at home, in an attempt to prevent patients from having to come to the hospital in the first place, and thus GPs, social workers, home health care, nursing homes, etc. have significant support systems in place to help manage their load. Perhaps this is just the area I work in (Oxford) but I get the impression this is a nationwide motivation. CT scans cost more than regular GP visits and packages of care. My timeline for coming to the UK is roughly thus: May-June-ish 2018: research/looking for job opportunities and travel agencies June-July 2018: applying to nursing agencies and interviewing/sending resume and rough credentials (I knew I wanted to work at a specific hospital in Oxford so this made my search easier since I knew where to look). July, after pre-screening and interviews with the agency they passed my information on to the hospital recruiting team where I interviewed via Skype with the hospital I currently work at. I was offered a position a few days later and signed a preliminary contract of employment. Then, I took the CBT (if I had failed the CBT more than a few times or was unable to pass, my contract would be void). August 2018: gathering documents to send to UK Visas & Immigration to apply for my visa, as well as receiving Certificate of Sponsorship from the hospital I work for. My hospital also paid for my visa application ($780 I believe?) and the Immigration Health Surcharge fee (£200 per year of the visa, work visas are 3 years so £600). From what I understand most hospitals will pay these fees but will not pay for CBT ($120? I forget). September 2018: visa applied for, documents sent, etc. December 2018: I had an issue with my visa where they forgot/lost some documents and took about 2 months longer than the maximum wait time to get me my visa; it was originaly planned to arrive October 2018. Visa arrived sometime December and I flew out at the end of December to start work January 6th. My hospital also paid for my one way ticket over. January 2019: work start, hospital mandated training for OSCE, very minimal attendance in a clinical area until the end of training. February 17 2019: pass OSCE, PIN received some days later, precepting for a few more days and then independent from there. The agency I went through was very good so I don't mind recommending them. I worked with NEU Professionals. From what I can tell, they service a variety of different areas, mostly in the south of England, but you can see where on their website under the "existing and historic trusts" tab. There are any number of agencies out there and it will make it easier to find them if you narrow down where in the country you'd like to work (a specific city, or area of the country like, southern, northern, etc.). I highly recommend going through an agency as they were very helpful with securing an interview with the hospital (and the hospital is likely more amenable to hiring through a trusted agency rather than someone who approaches them blind) and imperative to me filling out my visa paperwork and liasing with the hospital recruitment team. I wouldn't really advise not using an agency, but that's up to you. None of the agencies expect anything from you compensation-wise and they shouldn't require a commitment time either. The hospital will understandably require a commitment of time to them but that makes sense. If an agency is requesting you pay for their services or dedicate a certain amount of time to working through htem, I would recommend you find another agency as most agencies likely make money by getting paid a finder's fee by the hospitals they refer to. Overall I would say it's a good experience to work in another country, but it is different. I wouldn't recommend putting off regular nursing as your skills get rusty with time. Feel free to ask any other questions you have! -Kaitlyn
  13. kaitfinder

    American Nurses in U.K

    Yes, I am! I have been working as a nurse in the UK since January 2019. What would you like to know more about?
  14. kaitfinder

    U.S. RN BSN moving to UK

    Hey! Yeah for sure you want to be lined up with a hospital before taking the OSCE because it’s a huge pain of a test and you really need training for it, which most hospitals will provide. I went through an international agency that works with a specific hospital I wanted to work for (I wanted to work in a specific hospital in Oxford and this agency worked with that hospital, among many other hospitals). I applied to the agency online (having literally just googled “XYZ Hospital Oxford international nursing agency”) and they interviewed me, then talked about job positions, THEN took CBT, passed, then the agency set up an interview with the hospital etc. then I was offered a position, signed some preliminary paperwork, applied for a work visa, moved, trained with the hospital as pre-OSCE nurse, took and passed OSCE, then got my NMC Pin and now operate as a fully licensed UK nurse. I have heard of some people approaching the hospital they want to work for directly (recruiting department) and letting them know they’re international and going through it that way, but I didn’t do that so idk how that works exactly. You can literally just google “international Glasgow Scotland nursing agency” and go from there. Feel free to email me at kmrobe28@gmail.com if you have any other questions! -Kaitlyn
  15. kaitfinder

    US RN moving to London UK

    Hello! Be sure to let me know your background (USA, Canada, Philippines, etc? ) To the best of my understanding, you should go through an agency that specializes in international nursing. You can easily google that and if you know which hospital you want to work at, you can google “XYZ Hospital international nursing agency” etc. I have heard about people approaching the hospital directly (recruitment department) and letting them know their situation and setting up an interview that way, but I haven’t done that so I’m not sure. What I do know is nurses in this country (and Scotland and Wales) are unbelievably in high demand so you shouldn’t have too much issue finding a job. I actually started speaking with agencies BEFORE I passed my CBT and they were willing to talk about job positions because of how badly nurses were needed. Once you get hired, the hospital puts you through a training course to help you pass the OSCE (and often/usually does cover the £1900 OSCE fee) so getting in with a hospital is a must because the OSCE is a huge pain and you need training for it. Feel free to email me if you have any more specific questions at kmrobe28@gmail.com ! -Kaitlyn
  16. kaitfinder

    NMC - CBT

    Heyoo I'm a US RN just moved to the UK in January and been working as an RNsince that time as well. Studying advice for CBT: Get the Royal Marsden Manual of Nursing Procedures textbook. That will help you loads with both CBT and OSCE. CBT is not as difficult as NCLEX by any means, but you do need to pay attention. Brush up on your med calculation and get used to doing them without a calculator because you won't be provided with one. Also look up how to manually calculate drip rate as that is not something we do at all in the US and is something you will do frequently in the UK. I had a few questions about it on my CBT. CBT is mostly patient safety and safeguarding rather then pathophysiology and complex pharmacology questions. You will have plenty of time to take the test so don't stress from that perspective. Feel free to message me (you or anyone) if you have any questions about the CBT or gaining licensure in the UK as a US RN.
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