In theory there is freedom to travel and seek work
between all EU countries.
The UK belongs to the European
Union (EU), and the other member countries are Austria, Belgium,
Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg,
the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Sweden.
A number of European directives mean your nursing qualification
can be recognised in other European countries enabling you to
practise there. These European directives offer opportunities
to gain valuable experience in other countries. There are however
certain administrative procedures and language skills which must
The main obstacle to
employment as a qualified nurse or midwife in another European
country is the language. Prospects of employment are generally
poor if you do not have a good knowledge or qualification (around
level standard) of the language of the country. Some British
hospitals in Europe will welcome applications for employment from
UK-trained nurses and midwives but the working language of these
hospitals is the language of the country, except in the case of
British Military hospitals, which have their own nursing staff.
for nursing posts in European countries appear only rarely in
UK nursing magazines and journals such as Nursing
Times and Nursing
This is mainly due to employers seeking staff from their own country
in many cases. Again a fluent command of the country's language
will give you a much better chance of gaining employment.
Obvious exceptions to this are the Republic or Ireland, which
is now recruiting more nurses from the UK than ever before. Germany
will also offer employment opportunities
may include a language tuition course.
Jobcentres in the UK have access to European vacancies held on
the National Vacancy System (NATVACS) and the Oracle
Jobfinder Service. There is also the EURopean
Employment Services (EURES) system for finding work in EU
countries. Your local Jobcentre will have advisors to help you
search these networks.
The content of nursing and midwifery education in the
UK has been directly influenced by European directives which have
agreed common standards. The EU has education and training programmes,
most notably the Socrates
programmes, to encourage cooperation between educational institutes
and for foreign exchange programmes for students to study abroad
and have these periods of study recognised as part of their course.
The UKCC now has guidance
on student electives abroad and UK nursing students are increasingly
taking advantage ot these opportunities.
Working conditions in the UK are directly affected by legislation
agreed at European level. Most health and safety legislation in
this country designed to protect workers arises directly form
decisions of the EU, including manual handling legislation. The
same applies to equal pay and equal treatment provisions. Individual
employees in this country can take their case to the European
Court of Justice in cases of sex discrimination and nurses have
taken advantage of this right.
European Directives on maternity leave, working time and rest
periods, as well as collective redundancies, can all affect nurses
and their working conditions.
The European Directives concerning the mutual recognition of first
level registered general nurses' and midwives qualifications apply
to all member countries.
The relevant UKCC information sheet can be accessed by clicking
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