As a nurse, Poland probably isn’t the first country that comes to mind when thinking about places to move. Although the country has a population of over 37 million people, foreign nurses are a rarity. Historically, this has been due to the high number of locals choosing to enter the profession. Besides this, Polish culture is extremely unique, which means it might take some time for foreigners to adapt.
Times are changing, however. As nurses in Poland grow older, few young people are stepping in to take their places. Part of this is due to a general decrease in those studying to be nurses. Besides this, Polish nurses are themselves looking abroad for opportunities. Slowly, there has been a greater acceptance of foreign hospital workers in Poland, especially from neighboring countries. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated this.
While it’s not one of the traditional choices, there are many things that might attract foreigners to Poland. Because demand for nurses is projected to rise as more and more of the workforce retires, you can expect opportunities for foreigners to become more prevalent. The country also has generous labor laws in place: workers are given parental leave, insurance, paid time off, and a livable minimum wage.
Traditionally, the process of becoming a nurse in Poland has not been very transparent for foreigners. However, there are some resources online that will help. This article outlines the steps for you to become a nurse in Poland.
Steps to Become a Nurse in Poland
1. Get a Nursing Education
As is the case with most countries, Poland requires foreign nurses to have relevant nursing education. If you studied abroad, you’ll need to make sure that your degree is equivalent to a Polish school leaving certificate. There isn’t an official standard for converting foreign degrees, but a three- or four-year bachelor’s degree should suffice. It may even be possible to work in Poland with just a certificate in nursing or midwifery.
This process will be a lot easier for you if you obtained your degree in an EU country. Especially when it comes to fields like nursing, European universities teach very similar things, which makes your skillset a lot more transferrable across borders. Polish authorities will have an easier time converting your credentials to the Polish system, so you’ll probably receive an answer faster, too.
Of course, the most straightforward way to work as a nurse in Poland is to study in the country itself. There are a number of reputable institutions in the country, but the most well-known is probably the Medical University of Lodz, which is a school that trains medical professionals who go on to work both domestically and internationally. Other options are Vincent Pol University, the University of Economics and Innovation Lublin, and Polonia University. These programs are offered in English and are therefore extremely accessible to foreigners.
Either way, getting a relevant nursing degree is an important step to become a nurse in Poland.
2. Learn Polish
Before you can practice in any capacity in Poland, you’ll need to demonstrate a knowledge of Polish. This is an essential step to become a nurse in Poland. While it isn’t the easiest language to learn, there are a number of materials available both online and in print. You may also be able to find a private tutor, which would be the quickest way.
To officially certify your knowledge of the language, you’ll need to take the State Certificate Examinations in Polish as a Foreign Language. As of now, this is the only accepted Polish language exam. It is offered in Poland and in a few other countries and tests candidates’ ability to read, write, speak, and understand spoken Polish. As of now, only B1, B2, and C2 levels are available, although the government is working on versions of the exam for other levels.
3. Do a Nursing Internship in Poland (for Non-EU Applicants)
If you’re from a country outside the EU, you’ll need to undergo a six-month internship before being granted permission to take on full-time work in Poland. This internship needs to take place in a medical institution and will be verified by the Naczelna Izba Pielęgniarek i Położnych, or the Main Chamber of Nurses and Midwives.
While it’s possible to apply for an internship directly with a hospital, the easiest way to find one is through your university. Most Polish universities have ties to medical institutions and help their students find placements. This is a reason why studying in Poland gives you a massive head start if you want to work there.
Note that you’ll need to demonstrate knowledge of Polish before undergoing the internship. You’ll be performing real tasks in a real medical center, so you’ll need to be able to communicate under pressure with colleagues and patients.
4. Apply for Permission to Work in Poland
As an intern, you’ll only need a limited license to practice. However, if you want to work a long-term job, you’ll need to either prove that you already have legal residence in Poland or apply for the right to work for a period of time. Note that even those with an existing residence permit still need to apply for permission to practice with the Main Chamber of Nurses and Midwives.
Requirements include your diploma, proof that you’ve completed your internship, and proof of Polish language proficiency. For a full list of documents, you’ll need to check out the Chamber’s website or get in touch with them directly.
This is crucial to become a nurse in Poland. Note that most work permits issued to nurses last only as long as you’re employed by a hospital. If you want to stay longer, you’ll need to get a long-term residence permit.
I hope you found this article on the steps to become a nurse in Poland informative and helpful. Make sure to also check out the Available Programs in Europe!