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By Fiona Moore, for ExpatBriefing.com
29 August, 2014
The UK's Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) has announced plans to make it easier for nurses and midwives who have trained outside the European Economic Area to register with the body.
From the autumn, applicants will be tested for competence through a secure computer-based multiple choice scenario-based examination, and a practical objective structured clinical examination (OSCE). The competence test will assess applicants against the NMC's standards for pre-registration education, and replace the current minimum three months of supervised practise.
The NMC Chief Executive and Registrar, Jackie Smith, described the NMC's new approach as "an internationally recognized and rigorous way of ensuring that those applying for registration who trained overseas are able to practise safely and effectively in the UK." However, she also explained that employers will still need to ensure that the staff they recruit display the behaviours, skills and knowledge needed for their roles, and to provide further support and development as required.
The NMC added that the new system is in line with other healthcare profession regulators, and it described the assessments as "robust and objective."
The Royal College of Nursing, which is the UK's largest union and professional body for nurses, has called for more information about the change. Janet Davies, who is the RCN's Executive Director of Nursing, said that the RCN cannot currently judge whether or not the new system is adequate.
She warned: "Too often, nurses are recruited from overseas to fill short term gaps and given inadequate support to care for patients well. Employers and the NMC must work together to complete a system which gives patients absolute confidence that the person caring for them is equipped to do so to a high standard."
According to the NMC, nearly 5,000 nurses and midwives who trained outside the EEA have registered over the past five years, with the majority coming from India, the Philippines and Australia.
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