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The United Kingdom (UK) features some of the world’s best hospitals, practices, and centers. All of which provide excellent professional development possibilities while working with great people. Nurses in the country are well compensated for the work they do, based on qualifications and experience. In order to qualify as a nurse in the UK, you must submit the needed requirements and you must pass the Test of Competence, and any of the accredited English language proficiency tests.

About the Country

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, or more commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK), is an island off the northwest coast of mainland Europe. The UK includes the whole island of Great Britain, as well as the northern section of the island of Ireland. 

The UK often experiences unpredictable weather, wherein you could leave the house and the weather is bright and sunny, but in the afternoon, you could be drenched in a rainstorm. Furthermore, the public holidays in the country also vary as there are less public holidays in the UK as compared to other countries like the United States (US). Due to this, employers would give you more time off to compensate for the fewer holidays. The full-time employees in the UK are constitutionally entitled to at least 28 days of paid vacation every year.

In the UK, you could also find the most breathtaking views in Europe. If you want to see the countryside, you could visit the Cotswolds, Lake District, Scottish Highlands, or Welsh Valleys. If you prefer to see the sea and coast, you could visit Cornwall or Devon. Truly, the landscapes in the country are magnificent. You could even find the most quaint villages and towns all around the UK, engraved with a ton of history.  

The British government established the National Healthcare Services (NHS) during 1948, in order to assist the population amid a post-war economy. As a result, the healthcare services in the UK are available to everyone. Currently, the NHS still delivers treatment, and it is supported by the income tax. However, while most NHS treatments are free, most medicines and certain specialized care are not. 

If you are worried about being alone in the UK, you could join the Filipino Nurses Association UK, which provides a voice for Filipino nurses in the UK. The organization also aims to provide a support and advocacy network, as well as to encourage both personal and professional development. In fact, as of 2021, there are 40,000 Filipino nurses working in the UK. It is likely that by knowing there are other Filipino nurses in the country, you would choose to work in the UK too. Definitely, it is definitely a dream destination to work in.

Type of Nurses

The most common types of nurses in the United Kingdom (UK) are registered nurses (RN), licensed practical nurses (LPN), certified nursing assistants (CNA), occupational health nurses, and public health nurses. 

Registered Nurse (RN)

In order to become a registered nurse, you must complete a four-year curriculum of a two-year accelerated program. The daily responsibilities of an RN include attending to and caring for patients, and dispensing drugs to patients. They are the only group of nurses who are allowed to work with prohibited drugs.

Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN)

Licensed practical nurses offer hands-on care to patients under the supervision of RNs. The majority of licensed practical nurses offer basic bedside care. They are often in charge of recording the patient’s vital signs, such as the temperature, blood pressure, pulse, and respiration. They also treat bedsores, prepare and administer injections and enemas, provide alcohol rubs and massages, apply cold packs and hot water bottles, keep an eye on catheters and repair wounds.

Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)
Certified nursing assistants are responsible for the daily care and healthcare needs of patients under the supervision of an RN or an LPN. Their job includes feeding, bathing and fulfilling other general tasks for patients. 

Occupational Health Nurses 

Occupational health nurses ensure that the workers and the workplace are safe. They ensure that the workers in need of care due to acquired injuries and illnesses from the workplace are treated.

Public Health Nurses

Public health nurses are registered nurses with goals to improve the population health. They promote public wellness, and focus on helping those that are underserved and at-risk to acquire the care that they need.

Various nursing fields of practices in the UK include adult nursing, children’s nursing, learning disabilities nursing, mental health nursing, and more.

Work Sectors

Nurses in the UK could opt to work in the National Health Service (NHS) or the private sector. Private sector nurses often work for private healthcare organizations, schools, or charities. However, the majority of nurses in the UK work for the NHS, in which statistics show that as of 2021, a total of 304,542 nurses work in the NHS in the UK.


An average nurse in the country with at least 5 years of experience has an annual salary that ranges from £33,000 – £35,000 (₱2,228,734.67-₱2,363,809.5). A minimum wage of £24,907 (₱1,682,154.38) is given to newly qualified nurses and the pay could reach up to £108,075 (₱7,299,106.04) for senior nurses. Wages greatly vary based on the type of nursing job you choose to pursue, as well as the sector you work in.

Demand for Nurses

According to the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE), the UK needs at least 50,000 nurses through 2024 as it expands its labor market for Filipino professionals. In fact, the current minimum nurse-to-patient ratio in hospitals in the UK is one registered nurse (RN) to eight patients.


 In 2019, the top hospitals in the United Kingdom are listed below:

  1. St. Thomas’ Hospital
  2. The Royal Victoria Infirmary
  3. University College Hospital
  4. Freeman Hospital
  5. Chelsea and Westminster Hospital
  6. Salford Royal Hospital
  7. Addenbrooke’s Hospital
  8. Guy’s Hospital
  9. Glasgow Royal Infirmary
  10. John Radcliffe Hospital
  11. Bristol Royal Infirmary
  12. Royal Berkshire Hospital
  13. Queen Elizabeth Hospital Brimingham
  14. Royal Hallamshire Hospital
  15. Manchester Royal Infirmary 

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

Educational Requirement

You must hold a four-year bachelor’s degree in nursing, and an active nursing license. It must be equivalent to a foundation level degree in the UK, which goes beyond a secondary education, and is a level below acquiring a full undergraduate degree.


At least 1 year of experience in the field of nursing is required for international nurses before being qualified to apply for a job in the country.


Registration with the Nursing & Midwifery Council (NMC) is required for all nurses working in the UK. An online self-assessment must be done in order to determine whether you are eligible to apply for the NMC registration. 

During the application process, the following information must be provided in NMC online:

  1. Details on training (including the title of the qualification and date it was given)
  2. Photocopy of your qualification certificate
  3. Information of your education institution (name, address, email address)
  4. Information of your previous name if in case your qualification was given under a different name as to the one you used in your NMC online account
  5. Details of your professional registration if your qualification permitted you to register in the country that you trained in

A total of £140 fee must be paid upon submission of the provided information.


English Proficiency Test

The NMC requires international nurses to take the International English Language Test (IELTS) or Occupational English Test (OET), which are exams to test your proficiency in the English language. Both the IELTS and OET are widely accepted as proof of English proficiency for healthcare registration, study, and jobs, as well as visa applications in the UK.


For the IELTS, a minimum overall score of 7.0 is required. Aside from that, a score of 6.5 or higher in the writing section is required, as well as a score of 7.0 in the remaining areas (listening, reading, speaking). You may find practice tests on the IELTS website.


A grade of B or higher is required for international nurses in the listening, reading, and speaking sub-tests, whereas a grade of at least C+ is necessary in the writing sub-test. The results of the OET are valid for two years, therefore, it is essential to schedule your exam carefully.

Test of Competence

As of August 2, 2021, the NMC initiated the Test of Competence for nurses and midwives. The exam consists of two main parts: the Computer Based Test (CBT) and the Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE), which can be taken in any order, but must both be completed to continue the application process. 

Computer Based Test (CBT)

The CBT is designated to test your knowledge and skills to practice nursing in the country. The new CBT is divided into two parts, Part A, which deals with numeracy, and Part B, which covers clinical questions for nursing or midwifery. The fee for the CBT is £83. The current CBT test provider is Pearson VUE, which has test centers in multiple countries.

Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE)

The second part of the Test of Competence, OSCE, is a practical exam that is designed to assess your clinical and communication skills. The test can only be taken in the UK, wherein the three approved OSCE test providers are Oxford Brookes University, University of Northampton and Ulster University. The fee for this test is £794.

The new OSCE consists of 10 stations: 

Four stations, assessment, planning, implementation, and evaluation, respectively, are linked together around a scenario. Four stations are for the testing of skills, two pairs of two skills. The two new stations were created to test the values, behaviors, and evidence-based practice of the applicant.

Completion of the Registration Application

After taking the Test of Competence, the Nursing & Midwifery Council will check if you meet the remaining registration requirements, which are evidence that establishes your capability of safe and effective practice in the UK. This is divided into several sections: health, character, english language requirements, professional indemnity, and scope of practice. A registration fee of  £153 must be paid with the submission of the application. 

Make sure to prepare all the necessary documents and requirements stated above, to ensure that the application process will run smoothly. Study for the tests, and take them carefully to get a high score. Afterwards, once you are deemed as eligible to work in the country, you’re ready to become a foreign nurse in the United Kingdom!


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