Shortages of health care workers during the COVID-19 have affected the NHS and care homes across the UK. By the estimates, there are three times as many beds in a care home than in hospitals. Moreover, care delivered in care homes can sometimes be more intensive than in hospitals; elderly residents require complex physical and cognitive care.
There is a long tradition in the UK of recruiting migrant labour into the NHS to fill nursing vacancies. According to a 2021 report, medical specialists from 102 countries work for NHS. 10.2% of the nurses are coming from Asia, and their number is constantly growing. The same tendency applies to the number of nurses coming from Africa as it is increasing steadily during the last few years.
Overseas nurses are essential for the functioning of the UK care and healthcare system and make a valuable contribution to patient care and services, providing the system with resources to improve human lives and support the population’s health. Still, when overseas nurses arrive in the UK, they need additional training no matter their previous experience. This is where QAQF plays a significant role. A Government timeline restricts the training period. The nurses in training have:
- Three months to take OSCE test – Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE), where candidates must prove that their clinical and communication skills are on the required level. The exam consists of ten stations; six of which are skill stations, and each last about fifteen minutes.
- Six months to take OET. It is the occupational English language test for healthcare professionals recognised by various regulatory healthcare bodies. The test assesses all four English skills using test materials that reflect typical real workplaces and relevant language skills.
- Eight months to take PIN and become registered nurses before their visa is revoked. A PIN is a unique registration code obtained by the UK practising nurses and midwives.
During this transition period, most often, nurses-in-training are actively shadowing in the healthcare/care industry, and such full-time engagement may lead to challenges in their time management. For many, it becomes increasingly difficult to stay focused on their studies.
To avoid this problem altogether and allow the nurses to start their careers as soon as possible, QAQF created the three-month Nurse Boot camp, where nurses coming from abroad can go fast forward by being hundred per cent focused on their studies. It is part of the company’s Discover-Train-Deploy scheme.
In practice, this means that forty to fifty trainees are accommodated in one dedicated facility, where they have excellent living and training conditions. The classes are a mix of online lessons and offline practical training when the instructors join them for specific periods. There is an onsite manager in charge of the maintenance, nutrition, and supplies, supported by the company Welfare Officer. QAQF Compliance Officer is making sure the trainees are compliant with all healthcare and visa requirements, including isolation, vaccines and time management.
The trainees also gain practise by working part-time during the weekends for NHS or a few private care homes in the area. Besides medical classes, the nurses prepare for life in the UK with lections on UK history, culture, customs and society. QAQF aims to provide them with all they need to succeed in their future career and integrate quickly within the UK care industry.
Upon the end of the third month and much before the deadline, all exams must be successfully taken, and the trainees ready to graduate and join the UK care/healthcare industry. By speeding up the nurse registration process QAQF supports the care and healthcare sector providing much-needed quality nursing help. It is especially valuable for large nursing and care homes, located outside the big cities, constantly struggling to recruit qualified personnel. QAQF aims to facilitate long-term relationships with UK healthcare and care organisations, which are interested in their Discover-Train-Deploy scheme.