I could go on for pages and pages and pages and pages about why the NMC puts me off my dinner, but I've summarised the most annoying points in an earlier post ( http://allnurses.com/forums/f124/20-...mc-120172.html
). Basically, the answer to your question is this:
The NMC, in a process that would make Sir Humphrey Appleby burst with pride at the bureaucratic machinations of the civil service and the QANGO, held a long "consultative" process where many pieces of important paper were tabled, and people with opinions on everything stood on a soapbox. The end result has been the introduction of the new ONP, and a longer more obstructive set of requirements for non EU educated nurses (even for those of us born and raised in English speaking countries, with degrees
from universities with courses conducted entirely in English, etc etc etc).
So anyways, they decided that instead of admitting people straight to the register (as most nurses from the US, Aus, NZ, SA, etc previously were), applicants would have to undertake a 20 day period of protected learning to learn about UK drug regulations, the NHS, etc. All relevant and useful things that I'm sure most reasonable nurses wouldn't object to doing.
BUT! So far they have only approved about 1000-1500 places per year, which is far short of the minimum 10000-12000 places needed (potentially up to 50000, but a lot of applicants don't make the grade). The institutions offering them are full. The current rumour on the grapevine is that preference is being given to nurses who work as health care assistants for the NHS. This is why it is nearly impossible for people like you and I to enrol in an ONP. And that's not even mentioning the prohibitive costs! Do you have a spare minimum 800 GBP lying around?
Anyways, personally I think the whole thing is a sham. Its something that Patricia Hewitt et al sniffed on the air and prematurely ran with to score some cheap political points ("...and just LOOK at what we're doing to improve the NHS... no more of these damn foreign nurses who can't speak English and don't wash their hands..." - not
a transcript from Hansard, for those who couldn't figure it out). But I think the consequences for the NHS will be worse with the new regulations. Many of my colleagues who were also planning on nursing in the UK are changing their plans to go elsewhere (Canada seems to be the flavour of the month at the moment).
If you take anything
away from this rant of mine, let it be the following titbits of advice:
- Keep copies of EVERYTHING you send the NMC (they WILL lose something),
- Allow 3 months after posting your forms for a decision letter,
- Don't expect NMC telephone staff to be helpful or polite,
- You are the one with the problem, not the NMC,
- Vent your anger on allnurses.com every now and then.