Quote from jg0510
Hi! I have a couple of questions regarding working as an ICU nurse or a CRNA in either:
UK, Denmark, Sweden, Spain, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Iceland, Norway, Hungary..honestly anywhere. I am a US citizen and I love to travel and can't imagine not living there at least once in my life!
So I guess the questions have (as questions like this are somewhat difficult to find online) are:
1: What are your hours like? (here in the states RN is 3 twelve hour shifts, for me at least, and my CRNA cousin is 1 sixteen hour shift and 1 twenty four hour shift)
2: What is salary like? not to be tacky, I just genuinely have 0 idea what it is like over there as a nurse) Pay for nurses is great here
3: What's it like!
Do you speak all these languages? That's the first thing that'll winnow down your options.
Responding from a NICU in the UK:
1. Scheduling here is largely the same as my unit back in the US: 12 hour shifts, broadly self-scheduling (i.e. you put in your preferences and then they tweak if they need to). That's just my unit and just at this time, though; they're trying to bring in a "rolling roster" (i.e. you have a set pattern of shifts that you work all the time), but it's not a popular idea with my coworkers.
2. Salary in the NHS is terrible compared to US pay. Everyone in the NHS is slotted into the payscale dictated by Agenda for Change
; as a registered nurse you'll be on band 5 or 6 depending on your experience. If you work in London you get about a £5k annual bump to offset the extremely high cost of living. Even if you're at the top of band 6 with the London weighting, that still only puts you at about £40k annually, which is roughly $52.5k. That said, you're in Europe, so if travel is your thing it's a heck of a lot cheaper than being based in the states.
3. It's tough. The NHS is under a constant and ever-increasing pressure due to an growing and aging population without commensurately-increasing funding. There are currently about 40,000 unfilled nursing jobs throughout the country. Additionally, because of uncertainties over Brexit and rights of living/working, applications from overseas candidates are way down (to the tune of 96% from the EU). And the government just recently scrapped the funding for nursing students so they'll have to pay their own way; sounds obvious to us, but is going to make the idea of a career in nursing even less appealing.
I think the NHS is a great concept (and so do most Brits), but it is being woefully mistreated by those in charge of running it. Personally, I'm heading back to the states imminently, and will be glad to watch the next few years unfold from afar.