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University bids farewell to pioneering overseas nurse programme


London’s City University will soon bid farewell to a pioneering programme for overseas nurses that has helped hundreds qualify to join the UK register.

The overseas nurses programme run by City University London for the past 15 years is to end, following regulatory changes that deem it no longer necessary.

“We are immensely proud of what has been achieved”

Julie Attenborough

The course, which has had a variety of titles – including “adaptation” and “supervised practice” – since it began in 2001, was the first of its kind to be approved by the Nursing and Midwifery Council.

Since it started, the university said hundreds of overseas qualified nurses had started the programme and obtained their nursing registrations with the NMC.

The university described it as a “unique blend” of theoretical support and supervised practice, with students undertaking clinical practice and study days concurrently.

However, the programme is to close as a result of changes to the way the NMC registers nurses who qualify overseas, which was first unveiled in autumn 2014.

The new system, which consists of an online self-assessment of eligibility to apply followed by a competence test, meant the overseas nursing programme previously offered by City was no longer needed, said a spokesman for the university.

As reported by Nursing Times, part one of the NMC’s new system is a multiple choice examination and part two is a practical examination called an OSCE – objective structured clinical examination.

As a result of the change, the final overseas nurses programme at City commenced on 21 July 2016.

The university’s school of health sciences paid tribute to the contribution made by Ben Teh, who has led the programme since its inception, with a special event on 24 June.

Former students and staff from the university and local NHS trusts, praised Mr Teh for his commitment to supporting the many overseas qualified nurses going through the programme.

Originating from Malaysia and arriving in the UK as a student himself, Mr Teh was described as having a “natural empathy” with those he supported through supervision and class-based teaching.

He achieved an exceptionally high pass rate for the progamme, noted the university, as well as high ratings from students for teaching standards, personal development and overall satisfaction.

City University London

City to end pioneering course for overseas nurses

Ben Teh (right)

The vast majority of his students were from India and the Philippines, but Mr Teh also supported students from countries including: Brazil, Brunei, China, Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, Japan, Canada, the US, New Zealand, Australia, Iran, Pakistan, Nepal, Mauritius, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe.

Julie Attenborough, associate dean and director of undergraduate studies, highlighted that, although other universities offered the programme, City became the “university of choice” for it throughout London, the South East and South of England.

“We are immensely proud of what has been achieved and owe an enormous debt of gratitude to Ben Teh for his insightful and far sighted leadership of the programme,” she said.

“We are pleased that we will continue to work together on the return to practice programme, which is flourishing and continues to develop year-on-year, giving nurses whose registration has lapsed the opportunity to return to practice in the NHS and beyond,” she added.



Readers' comments (5)

  • This is a real shame as the new NMC CBT / OSCE process is a sham and not fit for purpose and in only one place in the uk thus not providing flexibility. The new OSCE process can take a lot longer than traditional adaptation and does not even with employer support equip the new overseas nurse to experience culture change in nursing but more so the new process adds heightened pressure. Also being from the Independant sector the OSCE equipment is very hospital acute focused thus again making Independant sector overseas trainee nurses at a disadvantage

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  • I was on the Overseas Nurses Programme from September 2004 - January 2005 with Ben The and Sarah Storer . I gained a lot from this programme and signed off and registered with the NMC in January 2005 . Things were quite different for me when I arrived in the UK from Mauritius in 2004 and this programme enabled me to learn the how it is like working in the NHS and learn about the British culture . I am now a Lead Renal Research Nurse , climbing the ladder from a Supervised Practice Nurse to where I am thanks to the ONP . A big thank you to Ben The and to Sarah Storer who guided me through my career to achieve my goal.

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  • Registration in the UK has always been cumbersome and expensive and the new system does not solve it either. They could have just adopted a one exam system like US and Canada which uses the NCLEX format. UK cannot expect to alleviate its shortage by relying on its current method of registration as it is uninviting for overseas nurse and it really costs too much to justify for the applicant where the cost of living in the UK is so high that the return of investment will take at least 5 years if one is a miser. Long live the new prime minister and the MAC who still maintain that there is no shortage of nurses in the UK!

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  • I taught on Overseas Nursing Programmes and am saddened to see this new online system.
    I would reiterate that it was not only the theoretical parts that were good but also the help with integration by the teaching staff and the introduction to both British culture and differences, help with the language and a friendly face in those early days. Sadly not replicated by self assessment in front of a computer!!

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  • Elmon Paul

    Today, on 12/10/2017, when I read this article I feel absolutely lost my mind.

    The reason is simple the new online exam and OSCE made the entire system much more a lucrative business as well as distorted and destroyed the the quality largely. In the past, the adaptation helped international nurses to adapt well with society, culture, working conditions, language and many more other aspects. Sadly, everything was ruined by the crud MCQ tests and OSCE. As a result, the new nurses have to pass expensive competency test and soon they were let to hit the ground and run without understanding any of the factors like culture, linguistic diversity or patient care. The end result is wrecking havoc.

    Overseas nursing program was the most comprehensive method to introduce the international nurses to the new and modern UK health care system. But, it's no longer exists. Feeling filthy about NMC and their unrealistic biased decisions. Ultimately, the citizens are the suffers.

    Today, while the country face their worst nursing crisis and shortage, I have only one thing to suggest bring back the wonderful system to save the entire NHS and aging citizens before they end up in wrong hands due to the crazy stupid decisions of NMC and private companies like Pearson vue who makes most out of it.

    Hope for the best.

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