How to Become a Nurse in United Kingdom (Guide for Foreign Nurses)


An Overview of Nursing in the United Kingdom:

  1. The Career Pathway Salary of Nurses in the United Kingdom
  2. Working Conditions 
  3. How to Apply as a Nurse in the United Kingdom 
  4. Documents to Comply in the NMC
  5. FAQs

Did you know that nursing is the most employable degree in the UK, with 94 percent of graduates finding work within six months of graduation? If you qualify, you can get at least £5,000 in financial aid for each year of your degree. 

Furthermore, there is a wide range of professional paths to choose from. Working as a nurse gives you the opportunity to work in a number of healthcare settings, including hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and outpatient facilities. This is advantageous since it not only allows you to further your education and growth, but it also keeps your work varied and interesting, ensuring job satisfaction.

Nurses have a plethora of possibilities for specializing in their preferred field of medicine. Emergency care, anesthesia, midwifery, neonatology, orthopedics, fertility, and surgery are all examples of this. It's entirely up to you!

Ready to realize your dream? 1NURSE.com has gathered all of the information you'll need if you wish to work as a nurse in the United Kingdom. Our service's purpose is to assist you in achieving your goals. To learn more, keep reading.

If you're a foreign nurse who wants to work in the United Kingdom, you must have/be:

  • A four-year bachelor's degree in nursing is required to complete a nursing program.
  • Hold a Nursing license in your country
  • English language competency as a proof
  • Complete NMC Application Assessment
  • Take and Pass the Computer Based Test (CBT)

Section A: The Career Pathway

Nursing education and training programs in the United Kingdom are only offered in authorized educational institutions (AEIs) in health and social care settings. Although there are admission paths that take into account your past learning, most courses last at least three years. 

While there are various degree programs available, the most important factor in becoming a nurse is the sort of license you have–you can have a Bachelor's degree but still need to pass the examination to receive an RN degree.

Entry Nursing Requirements
Nursing degree admissions requirements vary by university, but you'll almost certainly need at least two (typically three) A-levels or comparable credentials at level 3, as well as supporting GCSEs in English, math, and science (usually biology or human biology). To find out if qualifications equivalent to A-levels or GCSEs are accepted, contact universities directly.

Many courses specify preferred or required A-level or comparable disciplines, such as one scientific (for example, biology) or one social science (for example, sociology) (for example psychology). For people who lack the essential entry requirements, certain universities offer foundation year courses.

Registered nurse degree apprenticeships (RNDA)
A registered nurse degree apprenticeship (RNDA) is a flexible way to become a nurse without having to attend university full-time. You'll need to find work as an RNDA and convince your boss to let you go to university part-time.

Individuals who trained outside of the UK or EEA and meet all of the NMC's baseline requirements have had to complete a two-part application process from October 2014.

  • Part one is a computer-based multiple-choice exam that will be available in many nations throughout the world for applicants to take in their own country.
  • Part two is an objective structured clinical examination (OSCE) that will always take place in the United Kingdom.

Applicants are not required to complete a term of supervised practice as part of this process.

Nursing Associate
In both health and social care, nursing associates work alongside existing nursing care support professionals and fully licensed registered nurses.

It allows people from all walks of life to pursue a career in nursing and provides the chance to pursue training to become a registered nurse. In a variety of health and care settings, trainee positions are frequently available. As a result, nursing associates have more options and flexibility when it comes to moving between acute, social and community, and primary care settings.

Although a nursing associate is not a licensed nurse, it is possible to 'top up your skills to become one with further training.

Registered General Nurse
Family practice, labor and delivery, cardiac care, geriatrics, pediatrics, and emergency nursing are among areas where registered general nurses can specialize. Regardless of the sector of healthcare in which a Registered Broad Nurse works, a Registered General Nurse is expected to perform some general functions.

Section B: Salary of Nurses in the United Kingdom

If you choose to work as a nurse in the United Kingdom, you may rest assured that you will be financially secure. Nurses who are just beginning their professions are paid a minimum of £24K per year. You'll also get a large pension plan and a range of discounts on things like transportation, lodging, and children's education. 

If you choose to work as a nurse in the UK, you can rest assured that you'll be financially secure. Nurses who are just beginning their professions are paid a minimum of £24K per year. You will also be eligible for a significant pension plan as well as a number of discounts on transportation, lodging, and children's education.


Minimum Years
of Experience





SOURCE: Nursing Salary, Pay Scale And Bands 2022 - Nurses.co.uk. (n.d.). Nursing Salary, Pay Scale and Bands 2022 - Nurses.co.uk. https://www.nurses.co.uk/careers-hub/nursing-pay-guide/.

Section C: Working Conditions

  • Nurse-Patient Ratio: A statutory minimum nurse-to-patient staffing ratio of one registered nurse every eight patients in UK hospitals.
  • Hospital Equipment: The United Kingdom's socialized healthcare system is ranked 13th in the World Index of Healthcare Innovation, thanks to a strong showing in Science & Technology. Nobel laureates in Medicine, Physiology, and Chemistry are regularly produced by British universities. The socialist National Health Services, on the other hand, are very hesitant to adopt novel therapies for patients.
  • Working Atmosphere: The National Health Service (NHS) recognizes that in order to attract and retain the best employees, it must focus on employee engagement strategies by providing a variety of flexible employment policies and practices that are compatible with their employees' competing responsibilities – which is why they offer part-time work, flexi-time, job sharing, voluntary reduced working time, and the option to work from home.
  • Shifting: About 60% of nurses and midwives work 12-hour shifts, typically from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. or 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. (12-hour night shifts are possible if the average length of a night shift does not exceed 8 hours in a 24-hour period when measured over 17 weeks); this allows the NHS to provide 24-hour care to patients.
  • Patient Safety: All permanent residents (about 58 million individuals) in the United Kingdom have access to public healthcare. Healthcare is provided free of charge at the moment of need and is funded by ordinary taxation. Healthcare costs around 18 percent of a citizen's income tax, or about 4.5 percent of the average citizen's income.

Section D: How to Apply as a Nurse in the United Kingdom

Here are some things you should know if you want to work as a nurse in the United Kingdom as an Internationally Registered Nurse (IEN).

NMC Registration
You must complete an application with the Nursing & Midwifery Council (NMC) if you are an Internationally Registered Nurse (IEN) who wants to work as a nurse in the United Kingdom.  The NMC is the governing organization for nurses in the United Kingdom.

As an overseas nurse, you will need to obtain both a UK Work permit (and an employer who can sponsor you) and NMC (Nursing & Midwifery Council) registration. Every nurse must have current registration and PIN number in order to practice in the UK as a nurse or midwife. If you go to the NMC's website, you will be able to see the required information for registering. 

Educational Requirement
Applicants must have earned an equivalent foundation of nursing degree in the United Kingdom.

Take and Pass an English-Language Proficiency Test
NMC presently accepts the International English Language Test System (IELTS) and the Occupational English Test as evidence of your ability to communicate effectively in English (OET). The IELTS and the OET are widely utilized worldwide. They are frequently used to assess the language skills of healthcare professionals in the United Kingdom.

If you have passed the IELTS test, you must present an IELTS certificate that states:

  • 6.5 or higher in the writing areas
  • at least 7.0 in each of the categories of listening, reading, and speaking,
  • a minimum of 7.0 for overall

If you have passed an OET exam, you must provide a certificate that states:

  • a minimum of a C+ in writing, and
  • a minimum of a B in listening, reading, and speaking
  • Only results from OET tests performed after February 2016 will be accepted by NMC.

Pass The CBT And OSCE Exam
The test is divided into two parts: the CBT and the OSCE. The CBT is a multiple-choice computer exam, whereas the OSCE is a practical test that evaluates your skills in a clinical context.

The OSCE stands for Objective Standard Clinical Examination, and it is used to assess your pre-registration practical nursing skills in the United Kingdom. The OSCE is divided into six stations, each lasting between 10 and 17 minutes.

Credential Evaluation
If you're a registered nurse, the NMC will contact your professional regulator (PRC) to confirm the information you've supplied. If you haven't taken the board exam yet, the NMC will contact BOTH your university and the regulator (PRC) to certify that your training qualifies you to work as a nurse in the UK.

Section E: UK Immigration For Nurses

Nurses who have received their training outside of the European Union must register with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) in order to work as a nurse in the United Kingdom. They are eligible for employment under the Tier 2 (General) work visa program.

Health and Care Worker Visa
A Health and Care Worker visa allows medical professionals to work for the NHS, an NHS supplier, or in adult social care in the United Kingdom.

Here are the requirements to be eligible for this type of visa:

  • be a healthcare professional like a doctor or nurse
  • working in qualified health or social care position
  • work for a UK employer who has received Home Office approval
  • obtain a 'certificate of sponsorship' from your employer. This certificate should outline the function you've been assigned in the UK.
  • be paid a minimum salary that varies according to the sort of work you do

Section F: Examination

Candidates must complete an online application process in order to take the competency test. Our website allows you to register. You can schedule your CBT with Pearson VUE after the NMC has informed you that you must take the test of competence.

The CBT consists of 120 multiple-choice questions designed to assess your skill and knowledge to safely practice nursing in the United Kingdom. A total of 50 questions will be based on generic nursing abilities found in each nursing domain.

Nurses and midwives in the United Kingdom can now take the Occupational English Test (OET). From November 1, 2017, the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) will formally recognize OET for overseas-trained nurses and midwives for registration purposes.

Section G: FAQs

How long is the OET exam valid?
The results of the OET are good for two years. This implies there may be a deadline for you to apply for your exam, which you should consider before scheduling and taking your OET exam. You should verify with the appropriate authority to find out how long they are valid and when they will expire.

How much do nurses in the United Kingdom make?
In the United Kingdom, the average nurse pay is £25,578. On Band 5 of the NHS Agenda for Change Pay Rates, fully qualified nurses may expect to earn at least £22,000, rising to over £28,000. When a nurse takes on new responsibilities, such as ward sister, ward manager, or team leader, their salary rises.

What does an RN stand for in the United Kingdom?
In the United Kingdom, they are known as general nurses. All nurses must be registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council in order to practice (NMC). The majority of registered nurses in the United Kingdom are first-level nurses. State registered nurses (SRN) and later registered general nurses were the names given to general nurses at this level (RGN).


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