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Being a Nurse in Iceland

 All nurses operational within Iceland are regulated under the Act on Nursing. Nurses are also regulated under the Health Service Act. The majority of nurses working in Iceland work for the public sector (approximately 82%). If you are a trained nurse and wish to find employment in Iceland, it is recommended to register at the Lanspitali-University Hospital, where approximately 50% of registered nurses are employed. However there are a number of other nursing institutions and healthcare centers where nurses can seek employment.


In order to gain employment as a nurse in Iceland, it is first necessary to acquire the relevant qualifications. Aspiring nurses need to complete either a BSC or MSC program. Three year PhD programs are also available.

Further to the above, you will need to gain an Icelandic Nursing License in order to operate as a nurse. The Nursing License must be recognized by the Ministry of Health and Social Security, before you are permitted to work.

The Icelandic Ministry of Health and Social Security will need to see the following documents before you can begin practicing as a nurse in Iceland. All documents must be written in English and must be the original versions:

  1. Certified proof of your EEA citizenship

  2. Certified copy of your diploma or nursing degree

  3. Certified copy of your nursing license

  4. A letter of Good Standing


Workers are entitled to a minimum of 11 hours consecutive rest during a given 24 hour period. In addition, at least one day of rest must be taken per week. The maximum number of hours worked per week must not exceed 48, including overtime.

Nurses are entitled to paid sickness and accident leave, holiday allowance, occupational education funds, pension funds along with other contributions. In the first year of employment, nurses are entitled to a maximum of 2 days sickness leave per month.

All nurses are entitled to at least 2 working days per month annual paid leave. Entitlements will vary depending on the number of years worked and the level of seniority of the individual.  

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