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How to obtain a Nursing job in the UK

We are constantly bombarded with news of new graduate nurses upping sticks and immigrating to Australia, New Zealand and Canada to gain valuable nursing experience while enjoying the pace of life the country has to offer. The perception is there are not enough nurses to fill all the requirements hospitals, nursing homes and residential units in the UK have and because of this large UK hospital regularly travel to a number of countries including Poland, Hungary and Ireland to conduct large recruitment drives recruiting numbers greater than 20 at a time.  Because of this you would be forgiven to think that obtaining work in the UK would be a pretty straight forward process however this is not always the case.


There are a number of aspects job seekers should consider when sourcing employment including how effective your CV is, availability to attend interview, NMC registration, whether you require sponsorship and the location you are hoping to secure employment in.


For all nurses who have not trained in the UK, you will need to get your qualifications registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) in order to be eligable to practice as a nurse. Log onto www.nmc-uk.org for more details. Time line for this process can range from 6 weeks to 6 months and all depends on how proactive you are at submitting requested documents.

If you are not living in the UK it is advisable to register with a Recruitment Company as they are the ones with the local knowledge and accessibility to the Hiring Manager of each Department / Hospital. There are hundreds of Recruitment Agencies recruiting into the UK so be sure to conduct your research before deciding which agency to register with. Make sure your chosen agency has permission to work with UK based hospitals ideally NHS and Private hospitals to open up a number of opportunities to you.


You need to choose a location where you would like to focus your job search on which is not too broad. London is a great location with an excellent array of acute teaching hospitals, well established Independent Hospitals and acute specialised hospitals.


One of the final hurdles to cross is getting through the interview process. This is a critical part of the process, preparation is key and you will need to set a lot of time aside for preparation.  Aspects to be looked at include the hospital you are being interviewed for, research their website and be confident of their core values, specialties and the specific duties of the position you have applied for. All reputable recruitment companies should assist you to prepare for interview.


Once you have received a favourable outcome from the interview it usually a 4 week period before you actually relocated to the UK pending NMC registration and sponsorship if required.


The process can be very daunting but well worth it as there are numerous opportunities for nurses to fast forward their career in their chosen area either by being given the opportunity to obtain hands on clinical experience or part taking in a specialised post graduate course. I had the opportunity to work in Guys and St Thomas’s Hospital while in London and gained a huge amount of experience. I can say this experience definitely was invaluable to me and gave me the opportunity to develop my critical care clinical experience.


My next blog will be covering the ever important subject of drafting a CV, the dos and don’ts and how to sell yourself in the most effective way possible.


If you want to discuss opportunities in the UK feel free to contact me on +353-86-7826427 / keelin.moore@cplhealthcare.com

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