Becoming an authorized nurse in Norway costs both time and money for nurses from the Philippines, and it is not easy to stay on top of the changes in regulations.
By Aslaug Gotehus and Taylor Vaughn
Becoming authorized as a nurse in Norway requires a major investment of time for anyone. However, when you are moving to Norway from another country, the investment multiplies. When that country is outside of the European Economic Area (EEA), the investment multiplies again.
Leaving your country of origin and seeking new adventures and opportunities in a new country involves a range of investment costs along the way, emotional as well as economical. In addition to the cost of education and preparation for moving overseas, the nurses we’ve interviewed with an education from the Philippines face increasing costs of both time and money once arriving in Norway.
One of the main concerns of the nurses we have interviewed is being granted authorization as a nurse in Norway. Through our interviews with these nurses, we have come to realize just how difficult it can be to stay on top of the regulations.
Many of the nurses have expressed confusion and frustration over how often the nurse authorization regulations change and how difficult that makes it to be granted authorization. Along with these changes have come increasing fees.
With authorization comes high fees
According to the website of the Directorate of Health (as of March 2, 2019), the following fees are associated with nurse authorization for nurses with an education outside of the EU/EEA:
- Authorization application: NOK 1665
- Oral language test: NOK 1030 (new regulation as of January 2017)
- Written language test: NOK 2390 (new regulation as of January 2017)
- Course on Norwegian health services, health legislation and society (course in national subjects): NOK 13100
- Course in drug administration: NOK 1100
- Nursing proficiency test: NOK 9000 (new regulation as of January 2017)
The total came to NOK 28285. Approximately Euro 2885.
Browsing the website of Oslo Metropolitan University, one of two institutions in Norway offering the course in national subjects, we found that there has been an additional increase of more than NOK 5000 as compared to what is stated on the website of the Directorate of Health. The fee for national subject at this particular institution has now reached NOK 18 563.
The costs of these courses and tests are not insignificant and are to be covered by the applicant. These additional requirements have to be met before authorization can be granted. They must be completed and passed within a period of three years, starting from when the applicant receives a confirmation of the equivalence of their education. Within those three years, the applicant has three attempts to complete each of the requirements.
Due to the three-year time limit, the Directorate of Health advises applicants with little or no knowledge of the Norwegian language to being their language training before they apply for authorization. This is good advice since the new language requirement is set at the B2 level. Attaining this level of Norwegian language ability can take many months, if not years.
Time is money
Completing all of these requirements within the designated three-year time period means that the nurses must devote a large amount of time to completing them. The course in national subjects is only offered by Oslo Metropolitan University and Folkeuniversitetet. The course at Folkeuniversitetet lasts 10 weeks and is offered in the Spring and Fall semesters.
The proficiency test for nursing is only offered by one institution, The University College of Southeast Norway (HSN), and is offered only twice a year. The capacity for the Spring 2019 test is set at 20 participants and if you aren’t able to get in, you just have to wait for the next opportunity.
The time it takes to fulfill these requirements takes away from the time the applicants could spend working. As we all know, time is money, and it’s likely that these requirements affect the nurses’ ability to send money back to their families still in the Philippines, which for many was one of the main reasons why they decided to go to Norway in the first place.
The changes in the authorization regulations for nurses does not only delay, or in worst case hinders, a nursing career in Norway, but do also have substantial economic implications for the nurses.