Frequently Asked Questions - NI Nursing

Nursing in Northern Ireland - FAQs

TTM Healthcare Solutions (TTM) International team have compiled a list of Frequently Asked Questions for Nurses moving to Northern Ireland below.

Register your interest with TTM's International team by completing our International form.

Are the contracts permanent?

The offers being made are permanent, but you will be subject to Home Office restrictions in line with your visa. Your employment will then be managed in line with those restrictions. However, providing that you have leave to remain in the UK – the post will remain open to you. If you obtain permanent leave to remain then you will be confirmed into a permanent post (subject to satisfactory performance).

Who pays airfare to Northern Ireland?

This will be covered through arrangements between TTM and the HSC.

I had previous NMC registration - would this still be okay?

If you have maintained your NMC registration, then this is acceptable. If not, you will need to reapply for registration and go through the NMC requirements.

What happens if I fail my OSCE’s?

When you arrive in Northern Ireland you will be provided with training and support to prepare you for undertaking your OSCE’s to achieve your NMC registration. Should you fail your OSCE at your first attempt, you will be able to take it again. If you are not successful on your second attempt, you will not gain your NMC registration and your employment in the HSC will come to an end. (Please note that you must complete your second attempt within 8 months of your start date on your Certificate of Sponsorship.)

In the event of your not passing your OSCE’s, TTM will make sure you are looked after and returned safely to your home country.

Is there any difference in pay rates across the Trusts for a Band 5 Nurse?

No. All Trusts are required to use the Agenda for Change Pay scales which are the same for the whole of Northern Ireland. Band 5 HSC salary scale is currently £24,907- £30,615 per annum.

Once I am allocated to a Ward will I remain there?

No, the HSC expects all Nursing staff to be flexible and move wards as service needs require. Some Trusts also operate a rotation of Staff Nurses in which you may also be expected to participate.

How many beds are in each Ward?

Wards range from 17 – 36 beds. You will work as part of a team which will include a Ward Sister / Deputy Ward Sister / Other Staff Nurses and Nursing Assistants - as well as other professions.

What is the average Nurse to Patient Ratio?

In general, acute wards, the average nurse to patient ratio is 1:8. However this varies for specialty areas. For example, in ICU and HDU the ratio may be 1:2.

Can I move to another Trust after a few months?

No, your visa and associated Certificate of Sponsorship (COS) is for a single employer which will not permit you to move Trusts. If you apply to a new position in another Trust, it would be subject to you obtaining a new COS. The COS can only be issued where the post is on the shortage occupation list and where no suitable candidates is available within the local market. Once you have received Permanent Residency you are free to apply for positions as you wish.

How much Leave will I have?

You will be entitled to 27 days’ annual leave for a full annual leave year which runs from 1st April to 31st March. If you start part way through the year, you will receive a proportionate amount of annual leave for that year, according to the number of months remaining.

You will also be entitled to 10 days statutory /public holidays which are set days throughout the year as follows:

  • Easter: 2 days (dates change each year)

  • May Day: 1 day (first Monday in May)

  • Spring Bank Holiday: 1 day (last Monday in May)

  • 12th July: 1 day

  • August Bank Holiday: 1 day (last Monday in August)

  • 25th & 26th December: 2 days

  • 1st January: 1 day

  • 17th March: 1 day

If you are rostered on over a statutory / public holiday you will be paid at an enhanced rate of pay and receive a day off in lieu, at another time.

When can I take my annual leave?

You can book your Annual Leave through your Line Manager. You will normally be expected to give at least 4 weeks’ notice of Annual Leave requests, particularly if you are wanting a block of time off.

Please note however, in most instances you will not be allowed to take all your annual leave in one block. You will be able to check your individual Trust arrangements on arrival.

If I don’t stay for the full 3 years of my initial visa, what will I have to repay?

The HSC offers you a permanent post subject to Home Office restrictions. If you decide to leave the employment of the HSC before your first 3-year visa expires, you will need to repay the financial cost of the support you were given – including the training for your IELTS, your CBT examinations and the OSCE examinations. Full details would be discussed with you should this situation arise.

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