More competency courses added for overseas nurses
National centre offers competency tests for mental health and children’s nurses, amid increasing demand for staff from these specialties
Internationally educated mental health and children’s nurses hoping to join the UK register will be able to take their competence test at a national centre that has added more courses to its syllabus to cope with rising demand for overseas staff.
The objective structured clinical examination (OSCE) centre in Derby has started delivering mental health and children’s nursing OSCE training courses alongside existing courses for adult general nursing and midwifery.
The OSCE is a face-to-face exam that uses actors or simulation models to assess candidates’ ability to care for and communicate with patients. It forms the second part of the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) Test of Competence, which was updated in August 2021. All overseas-trained nurses and UK nurses returning after a career break are expected to pass the exam before they are allowed to work.
‘Paediatric nurses are in high demand and there aren’t enough of them’
Recruitment and training firm Resource Finder Recruitment Ltd, which runs the centre, said there has been increasing demand from NHS trusts for internationally trained mental health and children’s nurses.
The firm’s managing director Robert Fuller said: ‘There is a growing demand for mental health services, particularly following the COVID-19 pandemic and wider nursing shortages.
‘International nurses are key to meeting this demand as, according to NHS vacancy statistics, nearly one in five mental health nursing posts were vacant, with the percentage of those staffing gaps having increased from 13% to 18% between 2018 and 2022.
‘Paediatric nurses are among the nursing specialties in highest demand and there aren’t enough of them available right now, according to an RCN report.’
Recruitment of nurses from ‘red-list’ countries still rising
According to the latest NMC data, as of March 2023 there were 164,198 internationally educated nursing and midwifery professionals on the UK register.
The NMC’s mid-year registration data report, published in November 2023, showed the number of joiners from ‘red-list’ countries (from which active recruitment is not permitted) were still on the rise, despite a record number of UK-trained professionals joining the register in the six months to September.
There are currently more than 42,000 nursing vacancies in the NHS in England. The government’s NHS Long Term Workforce Plan pledges to recruit up to 190,000 nurses by 2037.
The Derby OSCE centre opened six months ago and has since trained 188 candidates across 20 NHS trusts in England.
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