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China is a great place for a nurse to work in, especially in aspects of safety, job opportunities, and healthcare facilities. In fact, due to the increasing and aging population of the country, there is a high demand for nurses, which could result in higher chances for you to land a nursing job in the country. The country also offers high salaries for nurses. Aside from those, China also has a rich culture, which includes a wide-range of Chinese dishes, and unique festivals. Having the second largest economy in the world, it is no doubt that China also has the largest global manufacturing economy, as well as the fastest-growing consumer market in the world. These are only a few of the reasons why you should consider working as a nurse in China.

About the Country

Many international workers claim that living in China is much safer as compared to living in the United States or in Europe. There is a relatively low rate of petty crimes for foreigners in the country. The streets are well lit at night, and there is little to no street harassment or catcalling in the streets. These factors could make you feel more safe when working in the country. 

In China, most Western social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google, WhatsApp, Netflix, and others, are restricted. This may be aggravating, however, it is still possible to access these social networking sites, as well as prohibited news websites, which include the New York Times, the Guardian, and the BBC, through a virtual private network that can be purchased outside of China. Despite this, these private networks may not always be reliable. Instead, you may choose local options like Baidu and WeChat, which are allowed for usage in China. If you want to communicate with family and friends in your home country, it may be a bit difficult. Despite the difficulty, it is not impossible to do so. 

According to the most recent South China Morning Post data, foreign nurses in China are responsible for both treating and teaching the patients they care for, while caring for an average of 11 patients at a time. Fortunately, within the last 30 years, the country’s healthcare system had developed, adapting in more advanced procedures, as well as utilizing high technology medical equipment. China is known to have one of the most rapidly growing healthcare systems in the world.

Types of Nurses

There are a vast number of nursing career opportunities in China. The most common nursing careers in the country are Registered Nurses (RN), and Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRN).

Registered Nurses (RN)

Registered nurses are in charge of monitoring patients, dispensing medications, keeping records, consulting with healthcare experts, educating patients, and doing other vital patient-care tasks.

Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRN)

Nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, nurse anesthetists, and clinical nurse specialists are advanced practice registered nurses who treat and diagnose ailments. They also aid and advise the public on specific health issues, manage chronic diseases, and participate in continuous education to keep current on technological, methodological, and other improvements in the field.

However, aside from those career options, the nurses in China are classified into two kinds, formal employed nurses, and contract supernumerary employed nurses. Temporary nurses, which are examples of supernumerary employed nurses, often do not receive the same amount of pay for the same amount of work as compared with formal nurses. With this, a contract nurse usually receives half the pay bonus of a regular nurse at a number of health facilities.


According to, nurses in China earn an average salary of 23,000 CNY (₱189,961.15). The amount of salary that nurses earn is highly dependent on the qualifications, job position, and number of years of clinical experience that they have. An entry-level nurse earns an average salary of 10,800 CNY (₱89,199.15), whereas a senior nurse could earn as much as 36,400 CNY (₱300,634.16). 

Although the country offers high salaries for nurses, new nurses will have to prove themselves first prior to getting a raise.

Demand for Nurses

Despite the country’s efforts in increasing the number of healthcare professionals in the country, there is still a high demand for nurses. In 2015, there was an estimate of 2.37 nurses for every 1,000 individuals in China. While, in 2020, the nurse patient ratio increased to 3.35 per 1,000 individuals. These figures indicate that the country is making progress in addressing the long-standing nurse shortage. In fact, over the last five years, the number of nurses in China has increased by around 200,000 yearly. However, despite the constant rise, demand continues to outpace supply, and the disparity is expected to become so severe, causing patient care to be affected. China’s demand for nurses remains high due to their incredibly large population, which is approximately 1.4 billion. Aside from that, as the population of the country continues to age, there will be a higher demand for healthcare professionals in the country.


Hospitals are one of the most essential components of the healthcare system of a country. This is the place where you will be given the medical care that you need, as well as information on how to keep healthy. The hospitals in China are highly important for their increasing aging population as these establishments are essential to keep the citizens healthy. Based on, there are 35,394 hospitals in the country, as of 2020. 
There are many great hospitals in the country, especially in Beijing and Shanghai. Some of the hospitals in Beijing are Beijing United Family Healthcare, Peking Union Medical College Hospital – International Medical Services, AMCARE Women’s & Children’s Hospital, and China – Japan Friendship Hospital International Medical Center. On the other hand, the hospitals in Shanghai include Shanghai Landseed International, Huashan Hospital (Huashan Worldwide Medical Center), Shanghai Meihua Women and Children Hospital, and Shanghai United Family Hospital.

In order to be able to work as a nurse in China, you must fulfill the following qualifications:

Educational Requirement

In order to become a foreign nurse in China, you must have a degree in nursing. In addition to this, you must also have a valid nursing license, issued by an institute recognized by China.

Language Requirement

The official language in China is Mandarin or “Putonghua”. With more than 70 percent of the population speaking Mandarin, it is also expected that you are able to speak the language. This is important in order for you to be able to effectively communicate with your co-workers and patients, as well as their families. You may be asked to follow the orders of the doctor, or you may have to speak with your patient to ask them how they are feeling. These are only some of the tasks that will require you to speak in the Mandarin language.


In order to be able to work in China as a foreign nurse, you must pass the National Nursing Licensure Examination (NNLE). 

National Nursing Licensure Examination (NNLE)

With one of the largest nursing workforces in the world, China established the National Nursing Licensure Examination (NNLE) in 1995. This exam is required in order for you to become a licensed registered nurse in China. It aims to determine whether you are fit to work as a nurse in the country by assessing your basic nursing knowledge, nursing ethics, and communication skills. Initially, the exam was a paper-based test. However, in 2015, the National Health and Family Planning Commission, or formerly known as the Ministry of Health, attempted to shift to computerized examinations. Therefore, in 2016, the NNLE was conducted as a computer-based test (CBT) in three regions, while it remains as a paper-based test in other regions. There are two sections in this exam,  basic science knowledge, and nursing skills section, wherein you will have 100 minutes to take each section. Each section consists of 120 questions. 

Prepare the necessary requirements and take the required exams carefully, to prevent any delays in the application process. Once you have completed the requirements that are needed to apply as a nurse in China, you are now one step closer to fulfilling your dream of becoming a nurse in the country. Good luck!

References (APA Format)

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