Are you angry about the NMC OSCE???

  1. I wonder if there is anyone out there who, like me, who has been slogging through the NMC application process and has taken or will take the OSCE? Are any of you ANGRY about the OSCE? I am.

    Those of us applying to be registered in the UK have been put through the ringer, been vetted in every way imaginable (references, one year of practical experience required, education hours, training hours, IELTS, etc), and the fact that they add a practical test on top of that is just redundant, unnecessary, and a huge waste of time and resources for everyone. Especially amid the UK nursing shortage, when they should be facilitating the immigration of well-qualified nurses, not hindering us!

    I recently took the OSCE and failed the skills section for absolutely bogus and arbitrary reasons. But before finding out that I had a "partial fail", I initially came out of that test feeling confident, like I had done well, and there is no way they would judge me to be an incompetent nurse. But despite my feeling that I performed well, I also emerged from the test simultaneously angry and frustrated, for having just committed 5 weeks of my life to stressing, floundering through disorganized, overabundant study materials on the Nile website, and traveling across the world... all for a test that clearly has nothing to do with assessing a nurse's competence. All the OSCE succeeds in testing is our willingness to jump through meaningless hoops and pay excessive fees!

    The fact that we are subjected to this psychological roller coaster is infuriating... especially from an organization whose bedrock is the holistic caretaking of all people!

    And why the exorbitant fees? Why do we have to repay the fee if we sit again for the test? Exactly whose pockets are we lining? The whole thing just rubs me the wrong way.

    I'm just appalled at what I and others have been through with the OSCE. I plan to appeal my test result and also lodge a complaint both with the University of Northampton and the NMC, who are the controllers of the OSCE. If anyone is interested, I will share what I write, and I encourage ANYONE who is frustrated to write to the NMC and make yourself heard!!!
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  2. 210 Comments

  3. by   Silverdragon102
    It is even more expensive to register in Canada and for most provinces you do clinical assessments varying from 1-5 days and for most I have seen further courses costing $$$ have to be done.

    At the end of the day the country's nursing governing body can ask whatever they want to ensure you are safe to nurse and if you really want to work in that country you must meet their requirements. Doesn't matter if the UK is having a nurses shortage the NMC is there to make sure a nurse is safe to practise regardless whether trained in the UK or overseas.

    You have the right to appeal against your test score but you do not have the right to complain how the NMC sets their requirements. Even once you start nursing in the UK you still have to deal with the NMC and they are commending new directives on maintaining license
  4. by   WrigleyRN
    Hi there - thank you for the reply. I respect your experience and your perspective on this. I know you have seen a lot in your time as an IEN.

    However, I completely disagree with you. I, and all of us, do have the right to speak our minds if we feel we are trapped in an unjust system.

    The fact that other countries like Canada may have more extensive and expensive vetting requirements doesn't justify the NMC's requirements. It only shows that perhaps Canada is the most out of touch with reality, and needs the biggest overhaul of all.

    I understand a governing body like the NMC wanting to safeguard the public, and it is their duty to do so. However, it is also their duty to ensure their licensure requirements are valid and fair... Neither of which the OSCE is.

    As far as validity is concerned (and this is an important factor for a nursing organization whose bottom line is evidence-based practice), where is the literature that points to this test being an accurate (or even barely sufficient) determiner of competence? I would implore them to publish any literature they have used in the creation of this exam that shows it tests what it is supposed to test: a nurse's competence or lack thereof.

    In my case, because I didn't vocalize one line in my skill station, though it was obvious I had done the skill according to guidelines, they failed me. After all my years of applying, my years of practical nursing experience in acute care, my education, the theory test, the passing of all the patient journey aspects of the OSCE.... They will fail me and judge me to be incompetent based on the fact I didn't vocalize one line??? This is unfair, illogical, and insulting.

    Mind you, they have informed me I can resit the skills stations. This means they are generously allowing me to fly across the world, pay the excessive fee, pay for accommodation, take PTO from work... And try again to carry out these skills that could potentially be memorized and mimicked by anyone.

    I will not be participating in a resit. I have more self-respect than that, and honestly, don't desire to work in a country where well-qualified, experienced nurses are "welcomed" in this way.

    I am in a unique position to voice my opinion because I don't actually need to work in the UK. I just thought it would be a cool experience... unlike some of the other nurses taking the OSCE who must work in the UK due to a spouse living there, or whatever reason. I feel empowered because I, for one, am not beholden to the NMC. Thus, I feel I can and should speak up on behalf of everyone that feels intimidated by the NMC and doesn't want to rock the boat and potentially become a target for dismissal.

    I know there is already a movement of nurses who are trying to have the NMC do away completely with the OSCE. This is not a new idea. I just didn't know to what degree it had been voiced in an online forum yet. And I wanted to plant the seed here in the minds of competent nurses from around the world that... Things could change if we speak our minds. In the years to come, the NMC can and should grant licensure to qualified RNs without subjecting them to an invalid, redundant, meaningless OSCE.
  5. by   Green_Grass
    I completely agree with the sentiments expressed by the OP. All nurses trained outside of the UK and EU must pass not one, not two, but three exams to earn the privilege of working as nurse in the UK. There is the IELTS exam to prove proficiency in English, followed by a computerised test (CBT), and lastly the in-person skills test which has the reputation of failing candidates for pedantic reasons unrelated to their professional competency. For first-time OSCE-takers, there is a 49% pass rate. The competency of a nurse trained in Spain or Hungary, with a rudimentary command of English is not measured by these three exams prior to receiving a pin, which of course means that a Romanian nurse with two years of experience who is not fluent in English has a significantly shorter, less challenging path to employment in the UK than an American nurse with an MSN and 15+ years of experience. In that way, there is a lack of uniformity as it pertains to standardising entry requirements. While I can understand the responsibility a professional licensing body must undertake in order to protect the public, I challenge the gross disparity that exists in the vetting process between EU and non-EU candidates. On a more positive note, it appears that 99% of the candidates who retake the OSCE pass the exam, and, the NMC has been known to overturn decisions after reviewing a reasonable appeal. The OSCE is unlikely to stay around for much longer given the harsh criticism received and maybe it is more palatable an experience to think of it as a sort of practice run in a nursing 101 skills lab. Perhaps OSCE candidates should just try once more, and not give up after a first trial, because even if they choose not to work in the UK after all, it is still an accomplishment to complete the difficult journey and earn a place in yet another country's registry.
  6. by   WrigleyRN
    Green_Grass, yes! That's exactly right. There is a complete disconnect between registration of EU vs non-EU candidates, yet another senseless side of the NMC licensing process.

    Regarding pass rates, here is a link to an article in the Manila Times:
    Best of times, worst of times for RNs in the UK | The Manila Times Online
    According to this author's research as of Feb 7, 2016, looks like 1st time OSCE sitters pass at a rate of about 45%. Of those remaining who do NOT pass the first time, only about half are actually retaking the test. But of that group, they have about a 100% pass rate.

    Each first sitting costs £992 (!!!) and a second partial sitting costs £496!!! Holy mackerel! Where is all this money going?... Well, the UoN has just started construction on a brand new campus (Waterside Campus) at a cost of £330 million. See article here: Treasury backs Northampton University’s campus project | Education | The Guardian

    …Not to mention the substantial cost of staffing and maintaining the university’s state of the art OSCE testing facility. They certainly do have a lot of debt to pay off in the coming years. I guess it makes sense, then, that they would charge us so much, and it also behooves them to fail us so we are forced to pay again!!

    Regarding my personal journey, I submitted an appeal to UoN administrators, but they rejected it. I have also lodged a complaint with the NMC, recommending that they completely remove the OSCE from their requirements. If they are looking for an extra vetting procedure to get an idea of our demeanor, I believe a Skype interview would suffice. If they need more, why not ask for a resume detailing nursing responsibilities and accomplishments? All of these options can be done with no extra financial burden to the candidate, from our home country.

    I would have submitted this complaint whether or not I passed the OSCE, based on the utter ridiculousness of the test. I strongly encourage any overseas nurse to do the same, whether or not you have taken, passed, or failed the OSCE!

    You can write an email complaint to the NMC using the email address found at the bottom of this webpage: Complaints about us

    You might consider any of the following as reasoning that the NMC should discontinue the test:

     The test is invalid. It does nothing to truly test a nurse’s competence or lack of.

     The NMC is already doing enough by getting the nurses to do an IELTS exam, theory board exam, as well as requesting a years’ experience, transcripts, police checks and references. That is more than enough to safeguard the public. The OSCE is therefore surplus to requirements.

     The OSCE is immoral in that nurses have to either resign or take time away from work, travel to the UK, and pay £992 before receiving a license. If they fail the OSCE twice they now have to go home due to visa reasons.

     The University is failing nurses for pedantic reasons.

     The University’s Nile website (the definitive resource for OSCE study and prep) contains extremely disorganized, excessive information, most of which is not applicable to the test. Yet they don’t offer anything in the way of practice tests or examples, so there is no way to self-evaluate readiness to test.

     Nurses are never given an opportunity to practice with any of the equipment or supplies used in the OSCE. So when we show up to a given station, we have 15 minutes under extreme pressure using materials we have never laid hands or eyes on before. This is an unfair scenario that sets us up for failure.


    On a positive note, I totally agree with you, Green_Grass, that this whole process is a learning experience, and an accomplishment just to get this far and take the OSCE. Even better for those who are able to pass and get a pin, and start working in the UK! I totally understand why nurses would want to retake the OSCE after a fail (might as well see this tedious application process through to the end after coming this far!). I’ve just made the personal choice at this point to cut my losses. I just hope that other nurses will voice their opinions and that the NMC will eventually ditch the OSCE altogether, for everyone’s sake!
  7. by   kiriann
    Quote from WrigleyRN
    Hi there - thank you for the reply. I respect your experience and your perspective on this. I know you have seen a lot in your time as an IEN.

    However, I completely disagree with you. I, and all of us, do have the right to speak our minds if we feel we are trapped in an unjust system.

    The fact that other countries like Canada may have more extensive and expensive vetting requirements doesn't justify the NMC's requirements. It only shows that perhaps Canada is the most out of touch with reality, and needs the biggest overhaul of all.

    I understand a governing body like the NMC wanting to safeguard the public, and it is their duty to do so. However, it is also their duty to ensure their licensure requirements are valid and fair... Neither of which the OSCE is.

    As far as validity is concerned (and this is an important factor for a nursing organization whose bottom line is evidence-based practice), where is the literature that points to this test being an accurate (or even barely sufficient) determiner of competence? I would implore them to publish any literature they have used in the creation of this exam that shows it tests what it is supposed to test: a nurse's competence or lack thereof.

    In my case, because I didn't vocalize one line in my skill station, though it was obvious I had done the skill according to guidelines, they failed me. After all my years of applying, my years of practical nursing experience in acute care, my education, the theory test, the passing of all the patient journey aspects of the OSCE.... They will fail me and judge me to be incompetent based on the fact I didn't vocalize one line??? This is unfair, illogical, and insulting.

    Mind you, they have informed me I can resit the skills stations. This means they are generously allowing me to fly across the world, pay the excessive fee, pay for accommodation, take PTO from work... And try again to carry out these skills that could potentially be memorized and mimicked by anyone.

    I will not be participating in a resit. I have more self-respect than that, and honestly, don't desire to work in a country where well-qualified, experienced nurses are "welcomed" in this way.

    I am in a unique position to voice my opinion because I don't actually need to work in the UK. I just thought it would be a cool experience... unlike some of the other nurses taking the OSCE who must work in the UK due to a spouse living there, or whatever reason. I feel empowered because I, for one, am not beholden to the NMC. Thus, I feel I can and should speak up on behalf of everyone that feels intimidated by the NMC and doesn't want to rock the boat and potentially become a target for dismissal.

    I know there is already a movement of nurses who are trying to have the NMC do away completely with the OSCE. This is not a new idea. I just didn't know to what degree it had been voiced in an online forum yet. And I wanted to plant the seed here in the minds of competent nurses from around the world that... Things could change if we speak our minds. In the years to come, the NMC can and should grant licensure to qualified RNs without subjecting them to an invalid, redundant, meaningless OSCE.
    I have had a terrible time trying to get my registation I feel exactly like you. I also am an experienced nurse with 10 years orthopedic theatre nursing. I failed because I didnt use a needle to draw up the medication. They supplied the mediction in plastic ampoule designed to connect straight to the lurelock syringe. So I did as I should have. I appealed even giving evidence that what I did was correct. I even wrote to the authors of the Royal Marsden clinical Nursing procedured. They even said that they will up date the next edition to include this.. waste of time though as no matter what evidence I give they won't bdue on their decision. I think it is more the university than the NMC though.
    It is like a money making thing for them. There is meant to be a shortage of nurses here in the UK. And good nurses like us are having a awful time trying to get uk registration. It is unbelievable.
    From what I have witnessed from nursing staff here my pratice is a lot safer than I have seen.
    Last edit by kiriann on Apr 16, '16 : Reason: spelling mistakes
  8. by   kiriann
    Yes I think they should do away with it . They should do a coure instead of this stupid OSCE. It's a complete waste of money. I have a compliant in at the NMC about it but it don't think it will make any difference.
  9. by   WrigleyRN
    I hear you. I have no faith that the NMC will overturn any decision the UoN has made. I can't believe they failed you for the reason you said... and yet, I totally believe it because they are ridiculous and illogical and completely close-minded to evidence!! Either way, I'm glad you voiced a complaint. The more of us that do, the harder we are to ignore.
  10. by   kiriann
    I think many people just accept that that they have failed. But I couldn't believe it when I was given the reasons why. I appealed to the univeristy, I gave all the evidence I had, that what I did with the materials supplied was correct. I was also told I failed because when doing the dressing change I put my stuff on top on the dressing trolley. When was doing the OSCe. I went to wipe the bottom shelf of the trolley, the person assessing me, stopped me, told me not to wipe the bottom shelf. So when I gathered my stuff I put it on the top I explained to the person why I did this because I wasn't placing it on the bottom because it was dirty. This is in the video. This was the second reason they told the NMC I failed. I think they are a bunch of idiots at the univeristy just out to make money. If I could afford it I would take them to court. I don't think they should be able to do what they do. I am still fighting but unless every one else who fails has to put in a complaint about them with the nmc, asnothing will change, they still will be taking our money and giving us pitiful excuses why they are failing us.
    Last edit by kiriann on Apr 18, '16 : Reason: spelling mistakes
  11. by   kiriann
    They even make us sign a paper that we won't discuss what is in the exam. So I will probably never get my registration. It's a load of crap. I think they just make the rules up as they go. Have you put I a complaint to the NMC. Although my response from my complaint didn't make a difference. But I appealed that to so now it has been escalated to a stage three of the complaints stage. I don't think it will make a difference though.
  12. by   babyNP.
    Yeah, they are rather draconian. I was lucky to get in doing the ONP. The fun doesn't stop after your licensure. They are now making you talk about your professional development plans and self reflection on being a nurse and other stuff not suitable for a licensing body but rather your employer and professional organizations. I have to have a face to face talk with someone in the UK even though I don't work there right now and don't know any nurses over there.
  13. by   siobhanalice
    Wow! I get anxiety reading this thread!

    I have also had endless issues with the registration process but am finally able to book my OSCE. I noticed there is one facility that holds a 2 day intensive course in preparation, however it's 500£. Has anybody taken this course? Did you find it helpful?
  14. by   kiriann
    You will be fine. Just remember when doing basic life support verbalize out paid you are checking for danmger. Read the Royal marsden book. For dressing change and injection follow it exactly as its written. . When doing medicaton. Be vigilant about allergiesallergies. Make sure what is prescribed isn't in the group of medications dhe is allergic to.. when doing patient assessment e through.look around for things on table etc hearing aids or lighters May be placed. . As I have heard that a person failed because they didn't notice a lighter on the table. I did notice a hearing aid on my patients table. So they do put things there for you to notice. You will be fine . It's really not that bad. Just that the have done failing points which are tricks really. Make sure you draw up medicaion with the needle. Etc. Exact ly as the royal marsdend describes.

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