Nursing is a global profession that knows no boundaries. With the proper training, a nurse can work anywhere in the world. Fortunately, Canada produces some of the best nurses in the world. So, can a Canadian nurse work in Europe?
Yes, a Canadian nurse can work in Europe. Since each country has a different regulatory system, you should consider the educational requirements, registration, language proficiency, and clinical training and experience. The registration process usually involves application, assessment, and verdict.
Becoming a nurse in Europe is easier if you’re trained in a country that’s part of the EU. As a Canadian, the process might be a little complex. But it’s not impossible. Here, we discuss the process for becoming working in Europe as a Canadian Nurse.
What to consider when applying to work as a nurse in Europe
There are a lot of factors you’ll have to consider when you’re planning to work as a nurse in Europe. These include:
1. Educational Requirements
European countries have educational standards that you must meet to work as a nurse. The standards may slightly differ from one country to another. For example, in Luxembourg, the minimum is a Nursing Diploma lasting three years. In the United Kingdom, there are several types of nurses, each of them having their required qualifications. Whatever degree or diploma you’re using also has to be recognized in the country where you’re applying to practice as a nurse.
Each European country usually has its own National Board regulating the profession. To work as a nurse, you have to register with the board. As a Canadian-trained nurse, the requirements for registering will differ from one European country to another. In some countries like the United Kingdom and Ireland, a board or council registers whoever applies to become a nurse. The federal health ministry gets involved in the process in others, such as Luxembourg and Belgium.
3. Language Proficiency
This is another major condition to practice as a nurse in Europe. Given that the language differs from country to country, your country of choice will determine which language proficiency test to take. If you plan to practice in an English-speaking country like Ireland or the United Kingdom, the Occupational English Test (OET) or IELTS results will be enough. However, countries that speak other languages also have proficiency standards you have to meet. In Belgium and Luxembourg, you’ll need at least B2 level knowledge of any of its official languages: Dutch, German, or French. So, you’ll have to know the language requirements.
4. Clinical Training and Experience
To work as a nurse in a European country, you’ll need to prove clinical training and experience to a certain level. For example, Belgium requires a minimum of 900 hours of clinical training and theoretical and practical parts of at least 450 hours each. On the other hand, Luxembourg requires one hour of minimum clinical experience to be employed. In Ireland, if you finished the nursing or midwifery education program in the past five years, you must have practiced for at least 12 months within that period.
Required Documents for Application
You’ll need documents when applying to work as a nurse in any European country. These documents include:
- Valid Passport and other proof of identity
- Proof of education include certificates and transcripts
- Police clearance certificate
- Curriculum Vitae
- Certificate of good professional conduct
Registration Process for Nurses in Europe using Ireland as Case Study
Each European country has a registration process through which it screens foreign-trained applicants into the nursing profession. Here we look at the registration process in Ireland. While there are differences across the board, the process is more or less the same, with application followed by assessment and verdict. The Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI) is in charge of registration in Ireland. The process includes the following steps:
1. Get the Overseas Registration Application Request Form
This form is available for download on the NMBI website. Once you have filled it appropriately and accurately, you can submit it. The form requires you to provide your contact details, division of the register, IELTS Test Report Form (TRF) number or OET candidate number, and your debit or credit card details to pay for the Overseas registration fee.
2. Overseas Registration pack
Once you fill out and submit the form, you’ll have to pay a non-refundable assessment fee. The NMBI will not process your application request and issue an Overseas Registration Application Pack. Please read the instructions and comply with them. The form requires that you provide personal details, identify the document, contact details, registration details, professional and educational qualifications, compulsory questions about your previous experience, explanations about professional practice, declaration, and checklists. Create an account after getting the Overseas Registration Application Pack.
3. Wait for Relevant Authorities in Canada
The NMBI also sends some forms to authorities in Canada to verify the information you provide. You have to wait for the authorities to complete the forms and send them. You can track the application’s progress by logging in to your account on the website. By tracking, you can see when NMBI receives any form.
4. Assessment of the application
After getting all the necessary information, NMBI can assess your application. However, getting all the necessary documents to assess your application might take some time. So, you’ll have to take your time.
5. The outcome of the assessment
The final stage is getting the decision letter which communicates the assessment results. The result will be one of the four possible outcomes. These are:
- Eligible for registration
- Required to complete a period of adaptation and aptitude test/assessment,
- Further information required
- Refused registration.
- You should only apply for registration if you meet all the requirements, including minimum scores on language proficiency tests.
- Ensure the language proficiency test results are still valid if you’re using IELTS or OET. Most countries only accept results that aren’t older than two years.
- The registration board or council will independently verify every piece of information you provide. So, make sure everything is accurate.
Becoming a nurse in Europe can be quite complicated. This is because each country usually has its rules on who can practice as a nurse. However, as a Canadian-trained nurse, you should have no trouble practicing as a nurse in most European countries. A move to Europe might also be great for you since European countries are some of the best paying places for nurses.