What is OSCE for Healthcare Professionals?

Article by Neha Awashti.

When an overseas health professional joins the UK health workforce, to work legally as a registered nurse, they must pass few crucial tests before obtaining the nursing registration. The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) is a regulatory body that oversees this process. It has approved two tests of competence against which the suitable candidates are measured with.
The first is Computer Based Test (CBT) followed by an Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) as the second part of the assessment, where candidates must prove that their clinical and communication skills are on the required level.

The Actual Exam

The nurses trained abroad are required to undertake this exam of ten stations; six of which skill stations, and each last about fifteen minutes.

Every element of the test is important as the trainee needs to perform each of them in a satisfactory manner. The test starts with the patient’s assessment (Assessment station), followed by the planning of nursing care (Planning station); safely administration of medication (Implementation station) and the evaluation of the care planned in the hospital or the community setting (Evaluation station).

The key element of this test is the risk management – candidates’ ability to ensure the safety of the patient and candidates themselves.

Upon successful completion of this examination and fulfilling all the essential criteria, the nurse obtains the registration pin number which concludes the registration process.

The Training Process

Our data shows that the vast majority of the overseas nurses coming to obtain the training for OSCE  with QAQF are experienced and well-prepared, requiring little guidance to adapt to the local process and work standards. For many of them who come from hard-working environments, the technology available in the UK is a great advantage. They are eager to learn and have very high participation during the online classes even though the majority are full-time workers in care and nursing homes. In August we re-started our live classes with a two-day course in London, but the main work is still done online.

At this point, our trainees have 99% exam success, which is not surprising as the candidates are highly motivated and come after a rigid selection of four consecutive interviews before landing in the UK.

Neha Awashti is the QAQF OSCE head instructor. An experienced nurse, who was at the frontline as part of the emergency units during the pandemic. Probably that is why she is famous for her ‘no-nonsense approach, and really invests in her students but expects always one hundred percent commitment.