Meet Nanelle, a UK registered nurse from Ghana, and our latest influencer partner!
She's working with us to help others understand what it's like to move to the UK. First up, she answers 6 questions about the challenges of qualifying as a nurse, becoming a mum, and adapting to life in a new country.
1. Hi Nanelle! Can you tell us a little about yourself and what you do?
My name is Nanelle Griselda Nti. I was born and raised in Ghana, West Africa and relocated to the UK in 2018 to work as a nurse. I’ve been living, working, and embracing new experiences ever since!
On top of being a dedicated nurse, I’m also a proud wife, and a mother to the most adorable 2-year-old. As a hobby, I create content mainly on YouTube to educate other aspiring nurses on the process of relocating to the UK. And I also share my experience of moving to the UK.
2. What made you decide to work as a nurse in the UK? And how did you find the process of moving from Ghana?
After completing my nursing degree in Ghana, the job opportunities were limited. Countless nursing graduates in Ghana struggled to find work. Then I discovered the UK's urgent need for internationally educated nurses. Intrigued, I dug for more information about the relocation process.
First, I did the necessary exams (IELTS) - an English exam to prove my proficiency in English, and a computer-based nursing exam called a CBT. I also did the necessary paperwork and eventually relocated to the UK to complete the final practical exam known as OSCE. After that, I was able to get my UK nurse license!
For me, the process was quite straightforward because I signed up with a recruitment agency. They guided me through the process and made the journey smooth. I was given accommodation for the first few weeks, a free flight and my visa was sorted, too.
3. What were the biggest challenges you faced when you arrived in the UK?
I faced and continue to face several significant challenges. Some of the biggest challenges include:
- Professional recognition: Some people, both colleagues and patients, assume you’re not qualified enough because you were trained in another country. So establishing professional credibility and gaining recognition as an internationally trained nurse was a challenge. Building trust among colleagues, patients, and supervisors required demonstrating competence, continually updating my skills, and proving my ability to contribute to the healthcare team.
- Clinical practice variations: Familiarising myself with the UK healthcare system's clinical guidelines, protocols, and best practices was essential. Adapting to differences in healthcare policies, and treatment approaches took time and required ongoing education and learning.
- Language and communication: Even after passing the English proficiency exam (IELTS) with flying colours, understanding the local accents and dialects was a major hurdle. It was vital for me to master these as effective communication with patients, colleagues, and healthcare professionals is crucial in providing quality care! But this naturally got easier with time.
- Cultural differences: Adapting to a new healthcare system and working in a different cultural context presented challenges. Understanding and respecting cultural norms, values, and practices was key to providing holistic care to patients from diverse backgrounds.
Weather: This was a challenge after having lived all my life in a warmer climate!
4. With agency work changing in the NHS and the current cost of living crisis do you have any advice for fellow nurses trying to set themselves up in the UK?
I’d say nurses should:
- Consider permanent positions: While agency work may offer flexibility, exploring permanent positions within the National Health Service (NHS) or private healthcare institutions can provide stability and additional benefits like pension schemes and career progression opportunities.
- Improve your skills: Continuous professional development is crucial in nursing. Upskilling yourself by attending relevant training programmes and acquiring additional certifications will not only make you more marketable but also demonstrate your dedication to providing high-quality care.
- Research cost-effective living options: As the cost of living crisis continues to impact many, it's worth researching affordable living options within your desired location in the UK. Consider shared accommodations or exploring regions with a lower cost of living while making sure you have convenient access to your workplace.
- Budget wisely: Create a realistic budget to manage your finances effectively. Monitor your expenses, prioritise essential spending, and explore ways to save money, such as cooking at home, using public transportation, or taking advantage of staff discounts.
- Seek support: If you're facing difficulties related to agency work or the cost of living, reach out to professional nursing associations, unions, or welfare organisations that offer guidance and support to healthcare professionals facing such challenges.
5. You have some really great advice about your experience of giving birth to your son in a UK hospital. What are your top 3 tips for expectant mothers who’ve moved to the UK from another country?
- Register with your local GP (General Practitioner): Do this as soon as possible to access antenatal care. It's also important to understand how to navigate the NHS maternity services, including booking appointments and understanding the different options available for childbirth.
- Connect with local support networks: Look for local community centres, pregnancy support groups, or online forums where you can meet other expectant mothers. They can provide valuable advice, emotional support, and help you through the UK pregnancy experience.
- Research parental rights and benefits: As an expectant mother in the UK, it's essential to be aware of your parental rights, entitlements, and the various benefits you may be eligible for. Familiarise yourself with maternity leave and pay policies, as well as benefits such as Child Benefit and Sure Start Maternity Grant. The UK government's website (www.gov.uk) is a great resource for detailed information on this topic.
6. Since we’re a car insurance company, we ought to mention driving! How did you find the experience of setting yourself up to drive in the UK?
I purchased a car and started driving after about 8 months after first moving to the UK. This was a used car which cost about £2,595. The car dealership I bought the car from helped me with all the paperwork and guided me through the necessary steps to make my car road legal.
There were a few challenges. Although I already had a full driving license from my home country, I could only use it for 12 months in the UK from when I first moved here. And car insurance fees were huge as most insurers didn’t recognise my experience driving in Ghana. Luckily there were online platforms that let me compare car prices and insurance quotes to help me save money and make the right choices.
A big thanks to Nanelle for all your advice on how to relocate to the UK as a nurse, and the hurdles to expect on the way. You can watch all of Nanelle's helpful videos here.
Moved to the UK like Nanelle and finding car insurance too expensive? Get cover with us! We help UK newcomers save up to 45% on their car insurance by looking at all their driving experience from any country. And, we cover licenses from any country for up to 12 months from when you first move. Get a quote now.