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.

 

 

Plans to Raise Mandatory Retirement Age for Healthcare Staff to 75

Iceland’s Health Minister Willum Þór Þórsson wants to speed up plans to raise the mandatory retirement age for healthcare workers to 75, RÚV reports. Public employees may not work past the age of 70 according to current regulations. Willum has stated that the move is intended to help relieve staffing issues that plague Iceland’s healthcare system, though more needs to be done.

If the regulations are amended, healthcare workers will still be dismissed upon reaching the age of 70, but would be eligible to be rehired on a new employment contract until the age of 75. Willum stated that such employees may be subject to a skills assessment.

Read More: Chairman of Medical Association Warns of Doctor Shortage

The Health Minister stated that although raising the mandatory retirement age would hopefully relieve staffing issues, it would still be necessary to make various medical professions more accessible to young people and improve recruitment across the field.

Two Thirds of Icelandic Nurses Prepared to Strike

Nurses Hospital Landsspítalinn við Hringbraut

Two out of every three nurses are prepared to strike in order to improve their working conditions, according to a survey conducted by the Icelandic Nurses’ Association (FÍH) earlier this month. Nurses have been working without a contract for over a year, and wage negotiations between FÍH and the state have not proven successful. Nurses voted down a contract proposal signed by FÍH and the state in April.

According to the survey, which was conducted between May 7-10, nearly half of nurses are prepared to go on a general strike (49.6%) and 32.5% are prepared to go on an overtime strike in order to advance wage negotiations (respondents could select more than one option). Survey results also revealed that while nurses were satisfied with some of the rejected contract’s provisions – namely to shorten the workweek and adjust the working hours of shift workers – their biggest issue with the contract was that it did not raise nurses’ base salary enough.

FÍH chairperson Guðbjörg Pálsdóttir says the takeaway from the survey is obvious. “Nurses are sending a very clear message. They are ready to go quite far to receive a salary that takes into account their education and the responsibility of their job,” Guðbjörg told RÚV.

Guðbjörg says it is too early to say whether nurses will in fact take strike action, but the survey results will be helpful in ongoing negotiations. “We have presented this to the state’s negotiation committee. We have very clear guidelines from our members to follow.”