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Information for those wanting to work in the UK as a nurse

Nursing Notes

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Anyone who wants to work in the UK as a nurse must first register with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).

The Nursing and Midwifery Council is the regulatory body for Nurses and Midwives in the UK. Anybody who wishes to practice and a Nurse or Midwife in the UK must first register with the NMC and hold a valid working visa.

You should start by reading the official guidance on joining the NMC register and information on applying for a UK working visa

All Nurses applying for NMC registration must meet the standards of the NMC before they can be considered for registration. The guidance remains for the same for those working both within the National Health Service (NHS) and with a private organisation.

Nurses trained outside the UK and EEA

Nurses who trained outside the UK and European Economic Are (EEA) can registered with the NMC, providing they meet its standards. The NMC will compare the training in your country with that required in the UK.

The requirements for registration are different for nurses who trained in the UK and EEA to those who trained outside the UK and EEA.

Process for nurses educated from outside the EEA

Since October 2014, the only route to registration for all nurses trained outside the UK and EEA with the NMC is through a 2-part application process.

  • Part one – a computer based multiple-choice examination which will be accessible in many countries around the world for applicants to access in their home countries.
  • Part two – a practical objective structured clinical examination (OSCE) which will always be held in the UK.

This process does not require applicants to complete a period of supervised practice.

EEA nationals who have trained outside the EEA will not be eligible for automatic recognition of their qualification under the EU Directives as they have not trained within an EU member state.

All applications must include evidence of completion of the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) test. You must complete the academic version of the IELTS test and achieve:

  • at least 7.0 in the listening and reading section 1
  • at least 7.0 in the writing and speaking sections
  • an overall average score of 7 (out of a possible 9)

The NMC will not consider applicants who score lower than this standard.

Overseas-trained nurses holding EC Treaty Rights who have had their qualification recognised in another EU member state and have practised in the EU/EEA for three years, will continue to be processed through the EU route.

Nurses trained in the EEA

The NMC will compare the training in your country with that required in the UK.

Following the recognition of qualification, and before entry to the register, all applicants are required to supply evidence that they have the necessary knowledge of English.

Nurses who trained in the EEA who are not EEA nationals may be required to undertake one or both parts of the application process above.

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Workforce

Patients are being mislead by unregistered staff using the “Nurse” title

Ian Snug

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Leading nurses warn that organisations are employing unregistered care staff with job titles describing them as “nurses”.

A study has that found hundreds of roles which do not require Nursing and Midwifery Council registration used the term “Nurse” in the job title.  This, understandably, has caused concern that patients are being misled and staff could be working beyond their competence.

According to the Health Service Journal, Jane Cummings, Englands’ Chief Nursing Officer, has written to NHS leaders calling for them to ensure staff who use the nurse title are in fact registered nurses.

We found several examples, on the NHS jobs website, of positions which utilise the “Nurse” title but do not require an NMC Registration to apply;

  • Assistant Nurse Practitioner.
  • Enhanced Supervision Nurse.
  • Clinical Support Nurse.
  • Associate Nurse.
  • Complex Support Nurse.
  • Assistant Nurse.
  • Auxilliary Nurse.
  • Nurse Support Worker.

Jackie Smith, the NMC’s Chief Executive and Registrar, has previously said;

“If individuals are calling themselves nurses and they are not on our register, then from a patient perspective that is quite worrying. Employers should not mislead patients into thinking the person in front of them is a registered nurse when they are not. They have a duty to make that clear to patients”.

Janet Davies, Chief Executive and General Secretary, said:

“Support workers play an extremely important role but there must always be a clear distinction between them and trained nurses.

“As the shortage of nurses begins to bite, the NHS is increasingly filling shifts with more unregistered care staff. They do not have the qualifications and training of registered nurses and it is unfair on the all sides, not least patients, when they replace more qualified staff.

“The Government must not allow nursing on the cheap. When the number of registered nurses on shift falls, it is patient outcomes and mortality rates that are adversely affected.”

Presently, only the title “Registered Nurse” is protected but staff are calling for the title “Nurse” to also be protected.

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MP insists nurses are already well paid compared to hairdressers, plumbers or carpenters

James M

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An MP has come under fire for saying that nurses are already well paid when compared to hairdressers, plumbers and carpenters in his constituency.

During last weeks debate on scrapping the NHS pay cap, Conservative MP Eddie Hughes said he wanted to ‘bring some context’ to the argument and went on to say that NHS staff already have a good deal when compared to hairdressers, plumbers and carpenters in his Walsall constituency.

But, Hughes has come under fire from NHS staff with nurses reiterating the issue not just about pay. The significant real-terms has also caused many nurses to turn to food banks and caused further issues with staff recruitment and retention as student nurse numbers significantly are affected.

Valerie Vaz, the Labour MP for Walsall South, said his comments ‘echoed the government’s contempt for our NHS workers’ and went on to reiterate that nurses are being forced to use food banks to make ends meet and NHS.

Speaking in Parliament, Eddie Hughes, said;

“I completely welcome the hard work that is done by NHS staff up and down the country, but please let me bring some context to the debate.

“The average income in my constituency is £440 a week, which is approximately £23,000 a year. I intend to advocate on behalf of all my constituents, not just those who work in the public sector. The average salary in my constituency is £23,000, which is about the same as a qualified nurse starts on.

“Many workers in my constituency are employed as hairdressers, plumbers or carpenters, and what pay rise do they get? They have had to work hard every year for their pay, and when we make the comparison using other factors, such as pension schemes, we see that in order to earn the same sort of pension a plumber would need to be putting away 43 per cent of their salary. Yes, we value the public sector in this country, but the Conservatives value all the workers in this country.”

You can view Eddie Hughe’s speech here.

Mike Adams, regional director of the Royal College of Nursing in the West Midlands, said; “They deserve nothing less than fair pay. As it is, we know many nurses work over their hours without pay as a result of staying on after the scheduled end of their shift or working through their breaks to ensure patients are well cared-for”.

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