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NMC reveals new checks for overseas nurses from outside EU

Nurses and midwives who completed their training outside Europe are to face new assessments of their eligibility to work in the UK, it has been announced.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) said the new registration system, to be introduced this autumn, will ensure that the hundreds of nurses and midwives who trained overseas and wish to practise in the UK are assessed in a robust and objective way, in order to protect the public.

“The new system will not replace the need for employers to ensure that the staff they recruit display the behaviours, skills and knowledge necessary”

Jackie Smith

Nearly 5,000 people who trained outside the European Economic Area have registered with the NMC over the last five years. The majority of nurses and midwives who trained overseas come from India, the Philippines or Australia.

Jackie Smith, NMC chief executive and registrar, said: “This approach to overseas registration is an internationally recognised and rigorous way of ensuring that those applying for registration who trained overseas are able to practise safely and effectively in the UK.

Jackie Smith

Jackie Smith

“The new process further demonstrates our continued commitment to making sure public protection remains at the heart of the systems and processes we use to maintain the register and reputation of the nursing and midwifery professions,” she said.

“The new system will not replace the need for employers to ensure that the staff they recruit display the behaviours, skills and knowledge necessary for the specific role to which they are recruited, and provide further support and development as required,” she added.

“Too often, nurses are recruited from overseas to fill short term gaps and given inadequate support to care for patients well”

Janet Davies

At the heart of the new registration process will be a test of competence, which will consist of two parts − a multiple choice computer-based examination and a practical clinical examination.

But Janet Davies, executive director of nursing at the Royal College of Nursing, said: “We need to know more about how nurses will be evaluated as part of this system before we can judge whether or not the system is adequate.

Janet Davies

Janet Davies

“Improving the process by which nurses are registered is only part of what is needed, they must be supported and monitored when they are in clinical practice,”she said.

“It’s important to note that no system will remove the need for employers to recruit people with the right skills, provide them with a proper induction and allow them access to continuing training and development,” she said.

Ms Davies added: “Whether nurses come from the EU or the rest of the world, it is vital that employers are recruiting them for the right reasons and supporting them when they get here. Too often, nurses are recruited from overseas to fill short term gaps and given inadequate support to care for patients well.”

Readers' comments (20)

  • david lowry

    This seems reasonable considering the new changes in Australia and the fact that when I came to work in the USA I had to complete both the CGFNS and then take the NCLEX

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  • It is sad to say but many nurses I have worked with outside of the EU have been poorly trained and have been a liability - especially those who I have worked with from nursing agencies. It is sad to say also that many of the newly qualified nurses I have worked with that have been trained in the UK have been arrogant and allergic to hard work. I would rather however work with a poorly trained nurse, who was willing to learn, and be trained properly, than I would a nurse who is allergic to hard work and allergic to assisting service users with their basic care. I am glad more measures are being put in place for the overseas nurses, but what about better screening for the nurses who train at present in the UK. Surely we should recruit people with compassion and not just people who are good at writing and "book learning"@@

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  • Good ideas can have unintended consequences.

    Before applying for a job in the UK these overseas nurses will have to travel to the UK to take the OSCE exam. Assuming they pass they will then have to go back home and start applying for a job in the UK.

    How will a nurse from India or the Philippines afford to take this new OSCE exam in the UK? The combined cost of the flights, accommodation in the UK and the exam will cost them over 2 years salary!

    This new system will certainly reduce the number of overseas nurses coming to the Uk not on the basis of competency but on the basis of the affordability of the process.

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  • I do believe that this is acceptable.My question what about certain EU countries? One automatically thinks of certain ex Eastern block countries where unfortunately .......

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  • This is very good plan of testing the skills ,knowledge of the Indian nurses,but the question of affordability for flight,accommodation in the UK&exam fees are beyond the control of the Indian nurses,In this aspect UK will loose the Indian nurses.The market will go to USA,because CGFNS,NCLEX-RN centres are in India(cgfns).Eventually Uk will end up with short of nurses again,
    Hear in UK, trained nurses are good in Only Writing"English is not every thing"They need to have qualities of a nurse for ex-which is knowledge,Compassion,Dedication to nursing.I have worked in UK last 10yrs& I came across so many arrogant nurses .So the system should look in to it for the UK trained nurses as well.

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  • I have worked with nurses from all over the globe and I found that the English nurses are the most uneducated and their maths is very poor. They are good at writing as English is their first language.
    I feel that all nurses need support in various ways and the education department should pick up on this and remedy it. I found that the foreign nurses work harder, sometimes because not given any choice.
    The problem is if a poor working environment is given to these nurses, they leave when there is something better.
    Nursing is not making itself attractive to the young British and so we will continually be looking to recruit from overseas.

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  • This is complete rubbish and waste of money and resources. Also its another attempt to deny health professionals their independence as a profession, and transfer power into the hands of managers.

    First of all it is complete utter nonsense to say nurses (including doctors and other health professionals) in the EU are better than nurses from overseas. What about nurses from USA, Canada, NZ, Australia, Korea, Japan, etc...? Are they inferior to nurses in the EU?

    Furthermore the EU is not a homogeneous bloc and certain countries still rely on old fashion soviet models in their training.

    “Too often, nurses are recruited from overseas to fill short term gaps and given inadequate support to care for patients well” --> how about nurses trained in the EU? Have there been scientifically validated studies to show local nurses provide superior care and make fewer mistakes? Well no. In fact I think they probably fare no better, therefore this is hypocrisy .

    Putting all these artificial red-tape and bureaucratic measures in place serve no beneficial purpose, and will only result in nurses moving to jurisdictions where they not only earn more money, but are better respected and have more independence in their area of practice.

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  • How are we going to improve care services by allowing limited assessments of a nurse's skills? How do we know that below-par nurses won't slip past the system?

    Further more, I have a feeling that this will see further rise in NMC fees having to deal with the below-par nurses who find themselves involved in FtP cases.

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  • there are pros and cons to every intervention.

    Exams and further assessments put in place may improve the quality of incoming nurses from overseas entering the EU. But what about local nurses already in the system? Locally trained nurses should be made to sit the same exams if this argument were to hold. Otherwise it is discrimination against non-EU nurses saying they're not up to the same standard as EU nurses which is complete bollocks.

    I foresee an exodus of local talent to overseas (which is already happening). I recall working in a London hospital where some doctors and nurses can't speak fluent english and they were from the EU. Mmm and workers from other non-EU english speaking countries can't come here because they're qualifications are not recognised. also pay is also lower so why bother.

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  • The NMC make a big fuss about protecting the public. How can letting nurses whose training is inferior or different to UK training, into the country be protecting the public
    The drugs are different drug names are different. Their English is often poor so how dare the NMC expose people, especially the elderly to the care of these people.
    The NMC & the Government are simply after more money, to hell with care

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  • Very interesting comments, I have worked with EU nurses from the eastern block and have found them to be excellent, English may not be great but then neither is the pigeon English or heavily accented English of non EU nurses. I have worked with nurses from non EU countries with a degree and found their knowledge to be extremely lacking, I have also worked with British nurses with degrees whose knowledge is not great either, I am lucky I trained under the old system in the 70's and do not have a degree which automatically makes me inadequate as I do not have a degree. I do not think nationality is anything to go by. Knowledge depends on the nurses desire to gain knowledge and continuing to educate themselves, you can be given the foundation in nursing school. But I do agree that like the USA there should be an exam in place. Practical skills testing, is equally important. I currently work in Saudi Arabia and believe me there are plenty of Filipino and Indian nurses that would love to get to the UK purely for the passport so that they can then return to Saudi to earn the big bucks !! no matter what there is no right or wrong there are good and bad in all nationalities, which will never change. But all the NMC is trying to do is protect the public, is that so wrong ? I think the only way that nursing will change in the UK is to offer not only excellent training, but also a salary that compete with other professions. I have from my own experience found that western nurses or foreign nurses that have worked in the west have greater knowledge and expertise.

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  • If we make it too difficult for foreign nationals to work in the UK we will be stuffed because a huge amount of nurses in my age group will be retiring in the next few years, and there will be a major shortage of RN's. This government does not want to pay us properly, and are eroding our conditions of service and AFC, which means nursing will no longer be an attractive career.

    I hope that when I'm old my health remains good, because the NHS by then will be a shadow of its former self.

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  • I'm from the Philippines and my employer - Cambridge University Hospitals is very supportive. I would like to share with you this video.

    http://www.cuh.org.uk/corporate-information/working-for-us/nursing-with-us/nurse-recruitment-videos-cuhnursevideo/our-nurses-reg-clinical-nurse-specialist

    I also gained Masters Degree in Cambridge. I am wishing my co-Filipinos to enjoy their time in the UK. It is a great place to live and work.

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  • Just a comment re the cost of flights, accommodation to take tests and various validation.
    This is relevant to the potential employee and should be taken into account.
    Irrespective of nurses coming from wherever the fact of the matter is that there IS a shortage of nurses in the UK as in other parts of the world. Employers should be liable for these costs, this should be built into the contract ? NMC or some legislative body to look into this. The last thing you want is a form of slave labor. Good to protect the public but also protect the worker. The NMC also needs to seriously look at why the UK cannot recruit an adequate number of nurses.

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  • There is no clear basis on how UK recrcruits Nurses from Non-EU for it's always changing...people complained of English capabilities, knowledge and skills only to fill the gaps in short term period?? This has to be discussed in the recruitment process.,as I think this is very important. Taking into account Nurses trained in the Philippines has 4 years of study and after this has to undergo Nurse Licensure examination regulated by Professional Regulation Commission. It's a 3 day Exam covering major subjects in Nursing. Unless you pass this you won't be called Registered Nurse. The curriculum has to consider as well., first of all to see if the Non EU and EU Nurses can qualify for the system in the UK. So it's not frustrating when they arrived in the UK, knowledge and skills is questionable and under siege. It's a part and parcel one benefits from the other, it's a helping hand., Non EU I can say are the hard working ones not afraid of learning and applying it in actual performance. may not !00% in communicating, but the heart is genuine. Most of the EU Nurses don't speak good English as of the Non EU..I am concerned that the EU Nurses are the ones that most need English test proficiency to come to work to the UK.. A major examinations Academically and Neurologically may be a good idea for all Nurses Non-EU, EU and Uk

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  • I am a New Zealand trained Registered Nurse and the process I have had to go through has been very tiresome to say the least! I first applied with the NMC in April 2012 and to this day am still awaiting my PIN.I also had to sit the IELTS (thank goodness I passed!)
    I was caught up in the audit last year and my application was put on hold. Since then I have had to complete a Overseas Nurses Programme (fair play) through a local care home and paid a shed load of money to do so. They advertise this as 'supervised practice' where in fact I was being used as cheap labour. The NMC need to check what exactly is going on in the care homes that offer 'supervised practice' because I am telling you it is not what you think it is.
    I will sign off now as this whole experience has not left me with the greatest impressions of nursing in the UK.

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