Many hospitals worldwide have had problems with nursing manpower — long working hours, meager salary and hostile treatment from administrators. But an acute shortage of nurses is also driven by a lack of interest among locals who pursue other career aspirations.
In the Philippines, a country where plenty of nursing graduates end up jobless or switch to other careers, such an opportunity to work in esteemed institutions like the United Kingdom’s National Health Service couldn’t come at a better time.
An overseas nurse who successfully lands a job in the NHS is bound to receive many benefits per UK’s labor laws and at par with what local nurses would receive. But more than just monetary and work-related benefits, nursing is a highly respected profession and foreign nurses often receive honors (see Filipino nurse Joy Ongcachuy conferred with Order of the British Empire).
Everyone who joins the NHS is guaranteed wages that match their skills, abilities and work responsibilities. Not only that, they are also granted every opportunity for career and personal growth through training and personal development.
Still unconvinced? Here are some of the benefits you as a nurse will receive in an institution synonymous with high-quality healthcare in the UK.
Free flights to UK
Upon confirmation of your job at NHS you’ll not need to worry about the costs of flying to the United Kingdom as the NHS client often shoulders the cost. It’s not through salary deduction either so you’ll simply avail of it without feeling obligated to repay the cost of the airline seat on your long-haul flight.
Upon your arrival in the UK, you don’t have to spend a dime on your accommodation as free accommodation will be provided in your first eight weeks of duty. This will help you worry less about looking for a new home as you get familiar with your new environment. This will also allow you enough time to find a suitable place you’ll call home.
Refunded visa costs
Not only will you be provided free air tickets to fly to the UK, and free accommodation for the first eight weeks, NHS will refund your expenses related to visa application if you come from outside of the European Union.
As part of the required training given to new NHS nurses, a two-part competency test will be paid for by the institution. The first one is a computer-based test that measures your theoretical nursing competency completed before you arrive in the UK. The second part is the objective structured clinical examination which tests your practical skills and will be taken when you arrive in the UK.
Refund of language test costs
To work as an overseas nurse in the NHS requires a competent level of English language skills. Therefore, you need to pass either the IELTS Academic English language test, or OET English language test. While the costs of taking these tests are usually borne by the applicant, some NHS clients will provide a refund to one of the language tests you took, often paid together with your first month’s salary.
Three-year initial working contract
A lot of things can happen within three years, but that’s only within your initial employment contract with NHS. That length of contract provides you with enough time to adjust to your new life in the UK without worrying much about the finances. These contracts also often get extended so it’s not surprising to know someone who worked in the same NHS trust beyond a decade.
A starting salary of between £22,128 to £28,746 on Band 5 of the NHS Agenda for Change Pay Rates, with rates depending on the place of assignment and its corresponding cost of living. This should provide enough to live comfortably for someone who has sacrificed time with family to serve in a place far away.
Comprehensive orientation program
Starting a new job in a new environment can be a scary experience especially if you arrive from thousands of miles away and know nobody in the workplace. Although the nursing practice is quite standard across different workplaces, the working environment might pose a drastic change to your previous one. For this reason, the NHS Trusts provide you a comprehensive induction program to help you transition into life in the UK. In the same way, it also helps bring out the best in you as an NHS nurse.
Your first-day essentials are covered
Your basic nutritional needs are taken care of. NHS will provide free food to ensure you are fit and ready for work. Bread and pastry, coffee, milk, fruits and so on are available at the workplace. In the same way, you’ll begin to sample the British food delights soon as you land in the UK: black or bread and butter pudding, welsh cake, tatie scones and more.
Reasonable working hours
A healthy work-life balance is what NHS aims for its employees who do mission-critical tasks in providing quality healthcare to the UK population. A standard working week of 37.5 hours leaves you with enough time to do other things such as spend time with friends and family, grocery and shopping, and rest. But if you choose to work longer, you’ll even get paid more. If a nurse chooses to work on bank holidays and Sundays, they will be paid 60% more, while those who opt to work nights and Saturdays will be paid 30% more.
As a newcomer, you’ll be granted 27 paid days every year to relax and do things you normally cannot do during working days such as do overseas trips. After working for five years, the number of paid days will increase to 29 days, and after ten years of service, you’ll have 33 days of paid holidays. On top of this, you will also be paid during each of the eight bank holiday days each year.
A generous pension scheme
The NHS offers one of the most comprehensive pension schemes in the UK. As a new NHS nurse, you will be automatically enrolled from day one. Protected against inflation and guaranteed by the government, your pension contributions — which lie between 7.1% and 9.3% depending on starting salary — are among the most secure in the UK, providing you with a healthy and vibrant retirement benefits.
Even though you are an overseas nurse employed in the UK’s NHS, your wages and benefits are all covered under the law. As your job will be crucial in keeping British society healthy, a comprehensive benefits system is also provided to you.