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Regulator eases rules on OSCE re-sits for nurses from overseas

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Nurses and midwives from overseas applying to work in the UK will no longer need to re-sit all elements of a clinical practice test if they fail in just some areas.

The move is among changes designed to make the process of applying to the Nursing and Midwifery Council register fairer and more straightforward for those who trained outside the UK and Europe.

Previously overseas candidates taking the Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE), which is designed to test key clinical skills, would need to re-sit all parts of the test if they failed any element.

However, starting this week, nurses and midwives are now only required to re-sit the parts of the test they actually failed. The move was first announced last April.

The NMC said it was the first in a series of changes the regulator would be making as part of a review of its overseas application processes.

“This positive change will make the test more proportionate and flexible for candidates that re-sit the OSCE and those providing support for them,” the regulator said.

The OSCE, which consists of a six-part mainly practical exam, is undertaken by overseas applicants at one of the NMC’s three approved test centres in the UK – the University of Northampton, Oxford Brookes University and the University of Ulster.

“This positive change will make the test more proportionate and flexible for candidates that re-sit the OSCE”

NMC statement

During the test candidates undertake various role-play exercises designed to test their ability in assessing patients, and planning and implementing care as well as core clinical skills such as basic life support, administering injections, calculating drugs dosages and wound care.

Since the exam started in April 2015, nearly 11,000 have been delivered with an overall pass rate of 56%.

It forms a core part of the NMC’s current process for registering nurses and midwives from outside the European Economic Area, which has for the most part been in place since 2014.

However, the regulator has acknowledged that there are “many areas where it could be improved” and all parts of the process are now under review in a bid to make the system simpler and quicker for would-be registrants and employers.

This will include looking at how candidates demonstrate they meet UK standards, registration fees and the process for submitting applications with plans for a new system to allow people to do this online and monitor the progress of their application.

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