Thursday, December 11, 2014

NMC Test of Competence for International Nurses who want to work in the UK starts at University of Northampton

Good news for international nurses who want to work in the UK as a nurse or midwife. The University of Northampton's School of Health has successfully started delivery the new 'Test of Competence' on 17 November, the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) has confirmed.

The new competency test for non-EU nurses and midwives replaces the old Overseas Nurses Programme (ONP) and will fast-track the process for internationally trained nurses and midwives seeking to work in the UK as well as ensuring candidates are assessed robustly in a standardised way.

The new assessment process is formed of two parts starting with a test in the candidates own country:

  1.  multiple choice computer-based exam, which candidates sit at test centres around the world
  2. practical clinical examination delivered at the University of Northampton in the UK

The NMC, the official professional body which regulates nursing in the UK, said they “want to ensure that all people joining the Nursing and Midwifery Council's register are meeting the UK standards”.

Jackie Smith, NMC Chief Executive and Registrar, said:

“Each year, hundreds of nurses and midwives who trained outside Europe apply to practise in the UK. 

"As a responsible regulator, we need to make sure that they are able to demonstrate clinical and theoretical knowledge as well as the professional values that will ensure patient-centred, compassionate care.

"This test will put candidates through scenarios that they may find in the UK’s health services."

Although we have not seen the results of the changes, the competence-based testing system for international nurses should be more straightforward than the previous cumbersome and expensive ONP, which often hindered hospitals and care homes from recruiting overseas nurses. The simple two-part process will do away with the subjective 3-6 months of adaptation and supervision and help hospital Trusts employers fill thousands of UK NHS nurse job vacancies they are unable to fill within the UK or EU.

Nurses union RCN said there are around 20,000 nursing job vacancies in the UK. With NHS hospitals unable to recruit enough nurses in Spain and Portugal, they are once again offering Tier 2 working visa sponsorship for non-EU overseas nurses and those who are on Tier 4 students in the UK. Student Visa holders are allowed to switch to Tier 2 work permits whilst in the UK.

Going through the initial NMC registration process and obtaining a PRN letter can take several weeks, if not months, so if you are serious about coming to work in the UK you should get started as soon as possible. NHS hospital employers going out to countries like India or the Philippines will not want to wait around for 3-6 months while you sit an IELTS test and apply for the your NMC if they have candidates who are already in process. English tests are required for most of the English speaking countries - Australia, NZ, Canada - likely to need more nurses, so get studying!

Non-EU nurses and midwives still have to pass an IELTS English test at an overall band score of 7.00 in order to register with the NMC - and have at least 1 year's clinical experience in a hospital (private nursing or 'company' nurse will normally not be sufficient for the NMC). For full details on the new registration process and working in the UK for non-EU trained nurses or midwives, visit the NMC website or email me your CV if you are interested in migrating to and working in the UK as a nurse.


Patricia Thomas said...

Personally, I am fed up with the standard of poor spoken and written English . Some nurses, from overseas, from wherever, have a poor command of our language...and it's dangerous for patient care.

Raissa Anne Tongol said...

Hi! I'm about to take the CBT which is the first part of the competency exam. Upon researching on the feedback of other nurses who took the exam, I found out that there are lots of ambiguous questions and that all the critical questions must be answered right or else you will fail the whole exam.In addition, according to them most of the questions are about codes which can be learned in UK. Thus, making it hard to pass and having a low passing rate. Will the NMC do something about it? It troubles alot of us aspiring nurses because of the cost of the exam is no joke. I hope the NMC could fix it and make questions that could really test the knowledge in nursing theories of applicants. I hope you could consider our appeal. Thank you and Godbless!

UK Immigration Matters said...

International non-EU nurses must pass an IELTS English test at Band 7.00. Most British school leavers would struggle to achieve this score.

UK Immigration Matters said...

NMC Test
The NMC must maintain high standards for the UK nursing profession.
You cannot expect the NMC to make it easier for overseas nurses to pass, just like you would not expect the U.S. to dumb down the NCLEX exam.
If you want to pass any exam you need to study for it and put in the work.

ella said...

Ielts score of band 7 8s ok to apply?

Sangaw Ku said...

Health Facility Clients do not purely rely on speech as a method of communication, there are some clients that require Makaton or BSL. Some clients are from other countries that do not understand English. IELTS should consider including some forms of communication in the test.