US Nursing Recent Grad Moving to UK

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Hello! My sister and her family are planning to relocate to Berkshire, UK next year, as our older sister lives there with her kids (and both are married to UK citizens). I want to join them, but since this plan just came up, I need to rethink my job search plans. I'm a career switcher (36 this year), transitioning from education to nursing, and will graduate in December. I live in NYC, and I was originally planning to start applying to new grad programs in the fall, take the NCLEX in Jan/Feb of 2025, and start working then so I can leave my current job (which I am SO ready to leave haha). 

Now, with this move, I'm not sure where to start, as most of the articles I've read are from experienced nurses moving and getting jobs with the NHS or private hospitals. Any advice or knowledge from anyone on how I might become a nurse in the UK with no professional nursing experience but a license (and 13 years of other professional work)? Any resources or personal experience would be appreciated!

Specializes in ER.

I assume you have already looked at the international requirements from the NMC, but if not, here is a link -

Register as a nurse or midwife if you trained outside the UK : step by step - The Nursing and Midwifery Council (


The main difference between US and UK nursing is the pay. Expect to be on a salary of around 30,000, which would be maybe $40,000, and also to be a lot more "hands-on" in the care you give. 

Some hospitals actively recruit in the Philippines, but not so much from other countries. There aren't many US nurses around, usually they are military wives working in hospitals near to military bases. 

Where in Berkshire? It's a big county, with a lot of diversity, but like everywhere else there have been harsh cutbacks, and hospitals struggle with being overworked, expected to do the same job they always did, but with fewer staff and resources. Property can cost as much as London but without the pay supplements that Londoners receive. It's not possible to buy a home on a nurse's salary without help from family.

I know nothing about UK nursing, but I might suggest if you can stay and get maybe 2 or so years experience in the USA first, this would be in your favor.  

Based on the various posts I've come across on the All Nurses website of nurses from other countries coming to the USA, it seems the process isn't so cut and dry.  I would expect the process is also not as cut and dry going from the US to international locations.

For the UK, there are nursing tests you must pass, visas to get, etc.. From what I have seen, there are two different different types of tests you must pass for the UK.  Yes, even after passing NCLEX  in the US.

Here's a blog I found written by a travel nurse.  Hopefully this might shed some light for you so when you are truly ready, you'll be prepared to take on the task

Specializes in Oncology, ID, Hepatology, Occy Health.
Mergirlc said:

I know nothing about UK nursing, but I might suggest if you can stay and get maybe 2 or so years experience in the USA first, this would be in your favor.  


I agree with this 100% and think it is the best advice.

I speak as somebody who changed country (UK to France) after 15 years experience. Even as an old dinasour you have so much to cope with adapting to a new health care system. Admittedly you won't have the new language change I had to cope with, but you will still, even in English come accross different terminology and differences between British and American English. You will find a different way of organising your work to that which you trained with, different procedures, different ways of doing things along with culturally different expectations of what the nurse does from both patients and colleagues. This was incredibly rewarding ultimately, but even with 15 years experience behind me it was hard at times! I can't imagine having taken this on as a new grad. Not saying you have to stay in the US 30 years, but do get SOME post-grad experience before you move.

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