Universal healthcare is provided in almost every community in Europe. This means equal access to quality healthcare for everyone residing in European countries. Healthcare in Europe has been designed mainly to make sure that every person receives basic and adequate healthcare services when needed. The healthcare system of Europe is heavily funded/subsidized by the taxes of the people. With the coronavirus outbreak, Europe has taken action in reinforcing the public health sectors and continuously coordinating with every country to come up with a common European response all over the area. During these times of crisis, the European regions, countries, unions, and cities are working hand-in-hand, extending assistance and support from one country to another, providing donations of medical equipment and whatnot. This just shows the solidarity among European unions. The healthcare workforce of Europe has continued to increase over the past years due to the outstanding opportunities given to these practitioners.

Europe, being one of the best providers of healthcare services, has achieved its excellent healthcare system because of the thousands of healthcare professionals providing services and care to the residents and communities all around Europe. One of which is the practicing nursing professionals mainly responsible for the planning and management of patient care, closely monitoring and administering the patient’s treatment all around Europe unions. There is an estimate of 7.3 million nurses and midwives in the World Health Organization (WHO) European Region. While it may seem the nursing population is large, Europe still seeks additional employment for nursing professionals to meet current and projected future medical care needs. Europe values diversity, thus, giving outstanding opportunities and excellent working conditions to nursing professionals all around the world. Europe has always been open to everyone who wishes to work and practice in the area, hence, opening its borders to everyone from overseas.

For further details on the steps to become a nurse in Europe, read more below.

Steps to Become a Nurse in Europe

1. Find a European Institution that Offers Nursing Degree or Program

This is an important step to become a nurse in Europe, as there are several universities/colleges or institutions offering nursing degrees or programs to nursing students. It is best to research the universities offering nursing programs first before deciding where to submit your application. Choosing a university also means choosing the location and neighborhood you are to stay in while you are taking the nursing program. Will you be able to finance and meet the cost of living in the area of your university? Is your allowance or income enough to cover all daily expenses and university materials and whatnot? Be sure to consider the cost of living in the location of your university in deciding what university or institution to attend.

2. Prepare to Apply and Fulfill the University Requirements

Requirements may vary from university to university. In most countries in the WHO European Region, a 12-year primary and secondary education is required before entry into an educational nursing degree or program. Most universities and institutions also require the provision of identity details or any proof of identity of the applicant. There may be other additional requirements that will be requested by the applicant. Be prepared to fulfill all the requested documents by your chosen university and pay the necessary fees for your admission. For additional information regarding the requirements, visit your university’s website or contact the university regarding the application/admission requirements.

3. Submit a Language Proficiency Certificate

Language proficiency has always been the basic requirement in entering universities or institutions in the European region. If your first language is not English and the language of instruction in your previous school where you have taken your secondary education is not English, universities or European institutions will require you to submit proof of your language proficiency. You may get a certification from IELTS or TOEFL or any equivalent with a rating not lower than 6.5 to be admitted to the university you are applying for. For applicants who are native English speakers, there is no need to provide any language proficiency certificate to prove your proficiency.

This is a crucial step to become a nurse in Europe. To get language proficiency certifications, you may check the IELTS website or the TOEFL website.

4. For International Students, Apply to your Chosen University through their website

For students coming from overseas, before going to Europe, be sure to apply to your chosen university and submit all required documents for the smooth processing of your application. The basic requirements in applying to universities for international students are as follows:

  • Secondary education certificate or diploma or any proof of completion
  • Transcript of records
  • An identification card or any proof of identity

Documents submitted must be in English, or if not, they must have a certified copy of the translation in English. Take note that additional documents may be requested by the university.

5. For International Students, Obtain a Student Visa

After submitting your application and all the requirements to your chosen university, the university issues an acceptance letter which you will need to apply for a student visa. Requirements for application for a visa may also vary depending on what European region you are going into.

Be sure to visit the Migration and Affairs Section in the European Commission to learn more about the required documents in applying for a visa.

6. Finish the Nursing Degree or Course and Obtain a Diploma

Once you have accomplished all the requirements above, you are ready to study nursing. The basic training of nursing includes four years (240 ECTS credits) of theoretical and practical education. Nursing students must finish the nursing degree they have taken and be sure to graduate and obtain a bachelor’s degree or diploma upon completion of the program to become a nurse in Europe.

7. Submit an Application for Registration

After the completion of the nursing degree, you must seek an application for registration as a nurse in the European region you have finished your studies for you to be able to practice the nursing profession in Europe. Each European region has its designated organization or agency that handles the application of registration. Usually, the Ministry of Health (MOH) handles applications for the registration of professional nurses. Be sure to contact the MOH to know more about the requirements for application or check the website of the MOH in wherever European region you are. Once your registration is approved by the competent authority handling the registration of professional nurses, you are already eligible to work and practice in Europe.

8. For International Nurses, Prepare to Meet the Requirements in Working in your Chosen Area

For foreigners who wish to become a nurse in Europe, requirements must first be met before they are allowed to work within the European region. The most basic requirements that the authority shall request from the applicants include but are not limited to the following:

  • Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing diploma or certificate of completion
  • Professional license details issued in the country where you are practicing the profession
  • Work history and references
  • Identification card or passport

These requirements shall be used by the authority to assess if you meet the standards for working as a professional nurse in the region. Additional documents might be required from the applicant, so be ready to submit any additional documents. Also, these documents must be in English or must have a certified translation in English.

9. Apply for a Work Visa

Once you have registered and meet the requirements to work in Europe, you must take hold of a work visa to be permitted to enter and become a nurse in Europe. Visit the European Immigration near you or visit their website for you to be able to know the requirements needed to get a work visa in Europe.

10. Prepare to Meet Cost of Moving and Living in Europe and Find Work

Once your work visa has been issued, you are ready to move to Europe and practice the nursing profession across European regions. You must be prepared to finance and cover your daily expenses before officially moving into Europe.


I hope that you found this article on the steps to becoming a nurse in Europe informative and helpful. Make sure to also check out the Available Programs in Europe!

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