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Old 11.07.2016, 09:18
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Re: Info for nurses looking to work in switzerland.

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Hi Dosa,

Don't know about a child nursing degree (from the UK?), but I'm currently going through the process of getting my degree (Bachelor of Science in Nursing from a US university) recognized by the Red Cross, and I can tell you about my experience with the whole "comparing thing".

The absolute first thing you have to do is contact the Swiss Red Cross (from now on RC) and tell them your situation. This can be done in English. They will send you a form to fill out, along with a list of required documents. This is what they call "l'examen préalable obligatoire" of your documents. They will assess your case for FREE, and tell you whether or not, in principle, your degree can be recognized. In my case, they told me this free assessment takes 1-2 months, I got my reply in the mail about 1.5 months later. For me it was a positive reply, stating that my degree could in fact be recognized... I was very impressed with how they handled my request and thought it was a great example of that famous "Swiss efficiency"...

If you received a positive response the first time around, the next step is to send the "real" application. You have to send the same documents again (certified copies this time around for a few of the documents) + proof of language. This part of the assessment costs 500chf. They told me this part would take 3 months... but then there was a misunderstanding (too long to explain).. so they didn't officially accept my request till Nov 1, 2013.. well, Feb 1 rolled around and.. nothing... so I asked... and then I asked again, and then after the 3rd time... I finally received my partial decision at the end of Feb. (so, almost 4 months)

Now (as a non-EU educated nurse) I have to do an internship and take the ~6000chf class mentioned by someone else above. Might be different for a UK nurse. But beware... it becomes increasingly hard to contact the RC as you go along the process... they seem to have reasonable requirements, but then they don't hook you up with anything (internship, or class). It's up to you to find and do these things... so far, I've had 2 offers to do my internship completely UNPAID. Contacted the RC about this and they said that it really should be paid, with at least an intern salary... but they couldn't tell me where past candidates have done their internship and have been paid, for example. Also, the class only happens once a year in the french part of Switzerland (might be more often in the German part?)... in my case, I got my partial decision telling me to take the class at the end of Feb, and the class doesn't start till the end of September. The first portion of the class is 9 days, spread out in 5 months!! Then will have to register for the second part of the class, 22 days spread into 7 months or so?? (not sure yet). Oh, and they're not allowing me to start my internship until the beginning of the course... haven't yet gotten a good explanation for this “rule” form their part. The RC gives you 2 years to fulfill these requirements... and in my case, due to the timing of their decision and the availability of the courses, I will actually be cutting it close! Also, I will then have to pay another 500chf to the RC.

Make sure you give yourself enough TIME to do this, it is not quick and painless. You have to be 100% motivated and it helps if you are independently rich or can find some sort of other income during the whole process (which is tricky, because you have to be available to do the internship, etc). Ideally, a hospital hires you before you start the whole process. But more and more hospitals are requiring that you have the RC recognition, and so far I haven't succeeded at finding a nursing job. Clearly, the recognition system is designed for you to do it while you work... not independently... but I too don't know how you go about getting a nursing job without having the recognition! Anyone out there that has succeeded at doing that.. any advice??

Oh.. and there is way too much talk about the language requirement on this thread... you NEED to know one of the languages to work as a nurse (any nurse should know that ). If you are going through the process of getting recognized while living here in Switzerland though, that will be the least of your worries (and paying your bills will be the first...) and you will have plenty of time to learn and perfect the language. But again, you have to be really motivated to do this...

Hope this helps and good luck! Don't mean to scare you, I just think that this would have been so helpful to know when I first started this whole process...
Thank you for detailed explanation...
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