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Trust amongst best in the country for overseas nurses’ exam results

04 March 2019

Health Care

All overseas qualified nurses from outside the EU are required to pass the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) Observed Structured Clinical Exam (OSCE) to achieve registered nurse qualifications.

Southend University Hospital boasts one of the best success rates in the country for the exam; at 95% it is significantly higher than the 73% national average.

The Trust started their OSCE preparation programme in May 2017 and so far 33 nurses from Nigeria, Zimbabwe, the Philippines and India have successfully completed the programme and are now working as registered nurses at the Trust, with two recently becoming Band 6 deputy charge nurses.

Gillian Donohue, Senior Nurse and Lecturer Practitioner, explained why the scheme has been so successful at Southend: "It's great that our candidates are all so experienced and they have all put in so much hard work studying, but the success is also a real testament to all the hard work put in by those delivering training here at the Trust. We have a team of seven and for all of us I know it isn't just a job, it's a real passion for training future nurses."

This influx of nursing staff has meant that wards and clinical areas have benefited from the additional nurses providing patient care. And it is anticipated that the scheme will continue to go from strength to strength as word is spreading from these nurses to their colleagues back in their home countries that Southend is a great place to work and live, so much so that the Trust is now getting direct applications from overseas nurses wanting to work at the Trust.

In fact the scheme has been such a resounding success that the team behind it are now looking to expand the international offer even further. Nurses are being interviewed using Skype each week and to date there have been 78 offers of employment to nurses already interviewed.

A number of nurses have also been interviewed following referral from existing staff working at the Trust. Overseas nurses have always been an integral part of nursing staff and OSCE nurses now form part of the nurse teaching team.

Of course all of it is part of the wider recruitment strategy, which UK and newly qualified nurses still play a major part in. Denise Townsend, Director of Nursing at Southend University Hospital, said: "You can see that there is a lot of community spirit within the group, they wear their nurse uniforms with real pride and are proud to be doing what they are doing. It's fantastic to see it is such a success story here in Southend."