Which languages are required to work as a nurse in Iceland?

Nurses Hospital Landsspítalinn við Hringbraut

For some years now, there has been a shortage in healthcare professionals in Iceland. In fact, despite the relatively high standard of public healthcare, Iceland has some of the lowest ratios of nurses and general practitioners to the population in Europe, meaning that working in healthcare in Iceland is a high-demand field.

Partially in response to these staffing shortages, previous requirements to speak Icelandic have been lifted in the last years. There are, however, some things to keep in mind.

The Icelandic Directorate of Health issues licenses to practice as a registered nurse in Iceland. On the application for applicants who have studied in an EEA country or Switzerland there is no specific requirement regarding language requirements. However, the applications are only available in Icelandic and English on their website. Applicants who have studied in countries outside the EEA or Switzerland are required to submit a course syllabus, or a detailed description of the classes concerned, in Icelandic and English.

In addition to that, individual employers can require job applicants to speak Icelandic. It varies between hospitals and institutions. If you have specific questions, it’s best to refer them to the employer in question.

If you are interested in a career in healthcare in Iceland. you may find the following resources helpful:

Nurse Charged with Manslaughter Pleads Not Guilty

Héraðsdómur Reykjavíkur Reykjavík District Court

A National Hospital nurse charged with manslaughter has pleaded not guilty in a recent hearing by the Reykjavík District Court.

The nurse in question was charged with manslaughter in December of 2022 for “crimes committed in public service.”

See also: National Hospital Nurse Charged with Manslaughter

The nurse stands accused of force-feeding a patient in the National Hospital to death in August of 2021. She is said to have culpably caused the death of the victim, a woman in her fifties.

The accused was originally sentenced to be kept in custody for some time during the course of the investigation, but Vísir reports that this decision was overruled by the National Court.

The case is expected to be judged by judicial panel, in addition to including the testimony of medical professionals.

The hearing is scheduled for January 30.

National Hospital Nurse Charged with Manslaughter

Landspítali national hospital

A nurse in the psychiatric ward of Landsspítali has been charged with manslaughter and crimes committed during public employment.

The nurse is accused of having culpably caused the death of a psychiatric patient by force-feeding them. The victim in question is said to be a woman in her fifties. It is alleged that the nurse force-fed her liquid food to the point of choking.

Anna Barbara Andradóttir, prosecutor at the district attorney’s office, confirmed this in a recent statement to RÚV.

The accused is a woman in her sixties, who had previously worked in department 33C at Landsspítali. The charges were brought against her about two weeks ago.

The case was first made known August of last year. Source report that the investigation has been wide in scope, with some 20 witnesses in total called to give an account.

The case is scheduled to be heard in court this January.

 

 

Patients Wait in Ambulances Due to Lack of Beds in ER

All of the beds in Landspítali’s emergency room at Fossvogur were full on Friday night, forcing patients to wait in ambulances until beds became available in the ER, RÚV reports.

According to the duty officer at the Metropolitan Fire Department, which also oversees capital-area ambulance transportation, it’s not unusual for patients to wait for a bed in the ER, although the duty officer was careful to say that Friday’s situation is not a common problem. Rather they stressed that paramedics provide patient care to those waiting to be admitted to the ER and room is always made for priority patients.

See Also: Mass Resignations at the University Hospital

Fourteen nurses resigned from the ER at the end of August, largely due to stress within the department.

According to Soffía Steingrímsdóttir, who was an ER nurse at the Landspítali for almost eight years, the resignations were “a long time coming. We’ve been trying to call attention to stressful work conditions and the threat to the safety of our patients for years now. Over these past two years, especially – when conditions have been unacceptable.”

At the time, hospital director Runólfur Pálsson said that hospital administrators would do everything in their power to reverse this trend. “The work conditions are extremely difficult. There’s a lot of stress, which means that people resign, which leads to staff shortages, which makes things even more difficult. It’s a vicious cycle that we’ve been trying to break.”

On Friday, nurse and assistant head of the ER Hildur Dís Kristjánsdóttir weighed in, saying the ER didn’t need to employ as many nurses as it previously did, as there are fewer patients being admitted on a regular basis.

As of September 1, the hospital’s stated goal is that no more than 20 patients should be in the ER at any one time.

How Hard Is It to Get a Nursing Job in Iceland?

A: In a recent interview with Iceland Review, Guðbjörg Pálsdóttir, President of the Icelandic Nursing Association, confirmed that there is a shortage of nurses in Iceland.

Applicants must, nonetheless, fulfil the requirements set by the Ministry of Health on appropriate education in nursing before receiving a permit for working as a nurse in Iceland (click here for further information). The Directorate of Health is responsible for issuing work permits on behalf of the ministry.

As wage agreements are currently being negotiated, Guðbjörg preferred not to comment on nursing salaries, as they are liable to change quickly: “Current wage tables* do not reflect the state of negotiations.” For further information regarding salaries, interested parties are encouraged to send an email to the Icelandic Nursing Association ([email protected]). When contracts have been signed, new figures will be published on the English version of the Association’s web site.

*The basic monthly salary for an experienced nurse in Iceland was around ISK 327,000 ($4,100 / €2,600) in 2018.

Icelandic Nursing License

Nurses that are citizens of EEA (European Economic Area) member states:

Individuals seeking to practise nursing in Iceland are required to possess an Icelandic nursing license, which must be recognised by the Ministry of Health and Social Security. Applicants must send the following papers to the Icelandic Ministry of Health and Social Security.

1. Certified proof of your citizenship in an EEA country (a certified copy of your passport is sufficient).

2. Certified copy of your diploma or a nursing degree proving that you are registered as a nurse in your home country.

3. Certified copy of your nursing license. This certificate must not be older than three months to ensure its current validity.

4. Letter of good standing, including a statement that your basic-qualification training complies with EEA training standards, and a verification that you have a valid nursing license in your home country.

The respective authorities must certify all these copies (photocopies are not accepted). These documents should be written in English, and any translation should be certified by a governmental authority or an official translator.

The Icelandic Nursing Association is a member of the International Council of Nursing, and employs the same criteria as the ICN regarding job applications from nurses outside the EEA (European Economic Area):

Individuals seeking to practise nursing in Iceland are required to possess an Icelandic nursing license, which must be recognised by the Ministry of Health and Social Security. Applicants must send the following papers to the Icelandic Ministry of Health and Social Security.

1. Certified copy of your permanent address (a certified copy of your passport is sufficient).

2. Certified copy of your diploma or a nursing degree showing that you are registered as a nurse in your home country.

3. Certified copy of your nursing license. This certificate must not be older than three months to ensure its current validity.

4. Certified copy of full details of the programme of your nursing studies: an outline of the curriculum, the length of the program, a description of the courses with the number of lectures, discussion, and clinical work.

The respective authorities must certify all these copies (photocopies are not accepted). These documents should be written in English, and any translations should be certified by a governmental authority or an official translator.

Applicants are no longer required to speak Icelandic before being granted an Icelandic nursing license from the Ministry of Health; however, nurses are required to study and learn Icelandic. For the first year or two, nurses who do not speak Icelandic can take courses while working. For further information, contact the Ministry of Health.

Please note: Prior to arriving in Iceland, you must contact an Icelandic employer and sign a contract of engagement. Foreign nationals coming to Iceland for employment purposes and without having obtained a work permit will be ordered to leave according to the Ministry of Social Affairs.

The address of the Directorate of Health: Landlaeknisembaettid, Katrínartún 2, 105 Reykjavík. Tel: (+354) 510-1900.