Wednesday, December 10, 2014

UK Competence Test Centre for non-EU international nurses and midwives opens for business

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) has confirmed that the School of Health at the University of Northampton has started delivering the new Test of Competence on 17 November for international non-EU nurses who want to work in the UK.

The new competency based test replaces the cumbersome and subjective Overseas Nurses Programme (ONP) and will streamline the process for nurses and midwives who are internationally educated and wish to work in the UK and ensure that are assessed robustly and objectively.

The assessment process is formed of two parts:

  1.  multiple choice computer-based test candidates take at test centres around the world fee £140
  2. practical clinical examination to run at the University of Northampton.

The NMC 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."

The overseas test centres for part one of the test (computer based) are run by Pearson Vue and are available in many locations around the world, with at least one in most countries. If there is not a centre in your area, you will need to visit a test centre in another region/country or in the UK. See their website for a list of locations.

The second OSCE examination, or part two of the test, is completed within one day and can only be taken in the UK, delivered by a UK university.

Once the NMC authorised you to take the OSCE, you will need to book the date of the test directly with the university.

Following the part one test the candidate will have to travel to the UK to take part two.

The University of Northampton website states:

Part 2 is a nursing or midwifery Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) . The OSCE can only be sat after successfully passing part 1 and only the NMC can authorise a candidate to take part 2 (the OSCE) .

Once  the candidate has passed part 1 and received confirmation from the NMC to progress to part 2, candidates are required to pay for the test (link at the bottom of this page) to initiate the booking process. 

The OSCE will simulate a clinical environment and "patient" scenarios which Registered Nurses and Midwives are likely to encounter when they assess, plan, implement and evaluate care. Candidates are expected to utilise a contemporary evidence base and effectively demonstrate safe practical application of nursing and midwifery skills. The Test of Competence is blueprinted against the current UK pre-registration standards and these standards are available on the NMC's web site.

It is essential that candidates prepare for the test of competence. The test blue print on the NMC's web site offers some useful links to online resources which may be helpful.  On successful application and fee payment to The University of Northampton you will receive access to additional resources relevant to the test.


Part 2 of the test costs £992.00.  

The new testing system for international nurses should be more straightforward and much quicker than the previous ONP. It will also help NHS employers fill UK nurse job vacancies, which in many cases they are unable to fill within the UK or EU. There are around 20,000 nursing job vacancies in the UK and NHS hospitals are now offering Tier 2 working visa sponsorship - even for Tier 4 students in the UK..

Non-EU trained nurses and midwives must sit an IELTS English test and obtain an overall band score of 7.00 in order to register with the NMC. For full details on the new registration process and working in the UK for non-EU trained nurses or midwives, visit the University of Northampton's website, the NMC website or email me your CV and IELTS results.

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