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General     Procedure     Getting a job     Studying     Extra advice

General
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 be acquired.


Procedure
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 ‘A level standard) of the language of the country. Some British’ and American’ 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.


Getting a job
Advertisements for nursing posts in European countries appear only rarely in UK nursing magazines and journals such as Nursing Times and Nursing Standard. 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
which 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.


Studying
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.


Extra Advice
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 here.


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This information compiled by Brutish Nursing using various resources including articles from The RCN and The UKCC

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