Let’s talk about what it is like to work in the UK as a nurse. We cover the experience in quick summary.
The UK is a pretty relaxed place and after India, very uncrowded and clean, even if the locals complain that it is not. Services are good with an efficient infrastructure. The society is very multicultural and all communities tend to have a good representation of nationals from the Indian sub-continent. Making friends and finding like-minded souls should be easy.
The Cost of Living
The cost of living is high compared to India, but wages are much higher as well. There is much less cash in the UK economy with people using bank cards much more for even casual everyday payments. There is much less presence for the black economy and most people play life straight. Few people expact backhanders.
Cost of living varies from place to place with London being far and away the most expensive location to live and work. The NHS recognises this and provides “weighting” for expensive locations.
Working in the NHS
The national health system (NHS) is much beloved by the British and is emblematic of a way of life that prides itself on social justice. Nurses are widely respected for their professionalism and caring attitudes. The role of nursing is respected and nurses are given important responsibilities within clinical situations. Although the work is busy, most nurses describe it as very satisfying.
Nurses are supported by the Nurses and Midwifery Council who represent nurses as a group and also individual nurses where those nurses need either legal or contractual support. Nurses do not negotiate salaries or terms individually but are subject to community wide terms. Contracts in the NHS are carefully defined and specific in their breadth and scope. As a nurse arriving in the UK, possibly alone, you can rely on your local NHS trust and the NMC to support you.
Although there is much debate at present about different races getting on together, generally people respect each other’s cultural differences. In this, life is much like India with noisy newspapers and the general populace living and working together amicably.
The NHS has stringent standards in terms of racism and sexism and there is strict code of conduct on personal behaviour and how staff are treated. Staff who do not meet those standards can be subject to stringent sanctions. The same applies to the behaviour of patients. You should not be subject to either violence or the threat of violence or to verbal assaults. Management are obliged to support you, protect you and provide counselling.
The Rule of Law
The rule of law is strong in the UK and generally speaking, you can trust the police force when you report a crime to them. If you are female, you will often be interviewed by a female officer and if you are the victim of violence you will be cared for by specially trained officers. Crimes against women remain on the low side and it is safe to walk around in the evenings and on the streets. Although there is casual sexism as in many countries, it rarely crosses the boundary into criminal action.