How to Become Nurse in United Kingdom

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) regulates nurses and midwives in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland and set standards for nurses and midwives to meet in their working lives. Nurses and midwives must follow our code of conduct, which states how they must work and behave.

To protect the public, to make sure nurses and midwives have the right skills and qualities when they start work, NMC  keep a register of all nurses and midwives who have met these standards and have been admitted to our register.  Registering to practice as a nurse or midwife overseas trained nurses or midwives wanting to work in the UK must register with NMC. NMC register consists of three parts.

  • Nurses
  • Midwives
  • The nurse’s part of the register is divided into four fields of practice.
  • Adult nursing
  • Mental health nursing
  • Learning disabilities nursing
  • Children’s nursing

Applicants can apply to be on the nurses or midwives parts of the register, as long as they meet our standards. If an applicant has trained as a general nurse, they should apply for registration with us as an adult nurse. If applicants want to register on more than one part of the register or field of practice, they should apply for each part/field at the same time.

Once registered, they can work in the National Health Service (NHS) or private health. To work as a nurse or midwife in the UK,applicants must meet immigration conditions.

Requirements for applying to join the register Language requirement Applicants must be able to show that they can communicate clearly and effectively in English.

"They must complete the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and achieve a minimum score of at least 7 in all areas."

Applicants may provide two IELTS test certificates to meet the above requirements, but must not have scored below 6.5 in any categories, in either of the test sittings. The two test sittings must be taken within six months of each other to be considered.There are no exceptions to this requirement, even if English is their first language. NMC will not accept IELTS test results that are more than two years old at the time the registration application is submitted.

The applicant must have practised as a registered nurse or midwife for at least 12 months (full time or the part-time equivalent) after qualifying. This post-registration experience must be relevant to the field of practice the applicant is applying for. Any practice that is not covered by registration cannot be considered for the requirement of 12-month post-registration experience. If the applicant is a midwife but has not practised midwifery in the five years prior to their application, they must do a return to midwifery practice course in their home country before they can apply to register with us.

Registration Requirements

If applicants have worked as a nurse or midwife in more than one country or state, they require to be registered with the licensing authority or registration body in all the countries/states where they have worked.

Applicants must provide the details of all practice undertaken as a registered nurse or midwife including verification documents and registration certificates. Education requirements Applicants must have successfully completed at least 10 years of school education before starting a post-secondary education nursing or midwifery training programme, leading to registration in their home country as an entry-level registered nurse or midwife.

Applicants must fill in the application form in full. If they are unable to fill in any part of the form, we request that they send it to us with a supporting letter explaining why. At the very least, NMC require photocopies of:

  • Their nursing or midwifery diplomas and registration certificates
  • Their transcript of training broken down into theoretical and clinical hours of study
  • Employment references confirming their good health and good character
  • Verification from the relevant licensing authority or registration body. If the applicant cannot provide any of these documents, NMC may not be able to assess their application.

Next Step

Part 1 is a computer based test (CBT)

The CBT is multiple choice and can be taken at a Pearson VUE test centre available in most countries around the world. A small number of questions will not be scored as they are pre-test questions, these questions will not be indicated to candidates. A proportion of questions will be critical and relate to patient and public safety. Critical questions must be passed. The time limit for direct testing is four hours and this includes any breaks from testing, which are optional.

Part 2 is a nursing or midwifery objective structured clinical examination (OSCE)

A practical nursing or midwifery examination. The OSCE can only be sat after successfully passing the CBT and is only available in the UK at a designated test centre. The candidate booklet and details for part 2 of the OSCE are available from the test centre website.