Episode 3 - The One With Nurse Sheriff - Licence To Practise Podcast - Ghana to UK - NMC OSCE
** Sit back and listen, it's time for Licence to Practise by IELTS Medical.
Christina: Hello and welcome to another episode of licence to practice from IELTS Medical. Today we're going to be talking to a UK registered nurse Sheriff. So let's give him a call!
Okay so hello happy Sunday, how are you today?
Sheriff: I am fine thank you. And you?
Christina: Very good yeah thanks and thank you so much for coming on the podcast, and obviously you are a nurse practicing in the UK at the moment.
Christina: Yeah so would you like to just tell us a little bit about yourself?
Sheriff: So like you said I'm Sheriff, and I am in the UK for 3 years now, but I am practicing for like a decade now, ranging from beginning in with medical moved to pediatric nursing. I did some new rehab in my first two years in the UK, and now in surgery.
Christina: All right okay. And are you enjoying that?
Sheriff: Yes it's been really fascinating and just like a ride from all the different experiences, all adding up to what i'm being able to do now and i'm really enjoying it so far.
Christina: Oh very good!
Sheriff: My professional life in the UK, yes.
Christina: So how long have you been in the UK for did you say?
Sheriff: So this is my third year.
Christina: Third year okay, and why why did you choose the UK?
Sheriff: Before I moved to the UK I had a lot of offers from different countries, and then looking through I realized that the first or the second point is that UK's registration is much easier compared to the US, Canada and Australia. Those registrations take generally about two years, and then the time of my registration in 2016 one could just complete the UK registration in 8 or 9 months, which is not possible with the other competing countries like the US or Canada, which takes like two years. So the registration process was much straight forward with the UK one, quite a lot of registration processes involved you could do them in your country, the IELTS with a nursing exam known as a CBT, you could do all of that in Ghana. The final bit is the OSCE you can do and get the PIN, unlike the other countries where you just have to begin and go over and see how to begin the exam with a lot of uncertainties. In the UK you could be coming by the time you'll be coming here you're quite certain that you're halfway through the registration and you're alright yeah. So it was quite the main reason why I chose the UK.
Christina: Yeah that makes sense because that's a massive difference. It must be quite scary going to another country before you're even registered and not knowing what's going to happen.
Sheriff: Yes in those other countries you get the clearance and get the Visa. Once you get the clearance to come and take the test.
Christina: Right yeah, okay yeah that is..
Sheriff: You arrive there without any job security and a lot of uncertainties but in the UK you're almost done with the process, just left a step, the OSCE. And for that reason employers are really ready to take up the risk and some even put you on the payroll as you fly in, so there's quite a lot of security regarding the UK process.
Christina: So did you already have a job here before you moved?
Sheriff: Yes, I had in the UK the Nursing Registration. When someone gets to OSCE level, I think you would have already passed through all the difficult points. The OSCE is almost like the easiest, so employers are quite sure that you are almost done with the process. And even with the OSCE they are ready to support you to pass it, and quite a lot of candidates pass it one time. Actually there are very good training companies in London like IELTS Medical. So for that reason employers are ready to take the gamble they give you offer letters. Even before you fly in, make accommodation arrangements for you, put you on their payroll before you even arrive. There is a difference between the UK and other competing countries.
Christina: Yeah yeah that is that's a huge difference that's really good. So obviously we have talked a little bit there about the registration process being easier than other countries. And could you go into a little bit more detail about what the registration process was like?
Sheriff: Back in 2016 - 2017 the registration process did involve the candidate being registered in his home country with at least some years of experience, at least one year. And then passing an English proficiency exam, either International English Language Tests or OET. Then with that one can obtain through an online portal one can obtain an authorization to write another online nursing multichoice questions, generally known as CBT. Then after CBT one obtains clearance after submitting all the requested documents to prove years of training, experience, registration and referencing. One obtains clearance known as Decision Letter from NMC UK to come over for the OSCE. Usually at this point candidates get an opportunity through recruitment companies to be recruited, flown into and come for the OSCE. Usually in the early part of the candidate's life in the UK, the candidate gets to be on the payroll, usually paid as a pre-registered nurse. Learning and being mentored in the world. The candidate takes time off the work to go through the OSCE training, and then once the OSCE is done within two days the candidate gets the PIN online to be a fully registered nurse. Back then the process used to take generally about a year to fully complete, now candidates are able to complete it in under six months.
Christina: Wow wow that's amazing!
Sheriff: It was quite due to the changes in the score but then the score was at least 7 throughout for the International English Language Test.
Sheriff: Now the UK takes at least 6.5 in writing. Then by the time one obtains the authorization to take the test NMC would have scrutinized quite a lot of the academic and referencing qualifications. So once a candidate makes the CBT, the rest of the process of the NMC UK just fast tracks it. Also today NMC does the fast checking of the documentation quite fast track than before.
Christina: Okay so that's faster as well.
Sheriff: Yes some time ago NMC was using between 70 to 90 days to go through the candidate's documentation. After receiving the last submitted document, and that used to take like four or five months.
Christina: Yeah that's a long time.
Sheriff: For that process alone. But today NMC prides itself in getting candidates verified under 30 days!
Christina: Oh really? That's a massive difference, isn't it?
Sheriff: Yes, under 30 days and most candidates get to hear from NMC by the 20 something day.
Christina: Wow okay so they sped up that process quite a lot then.
Sheriff: Yes so a lot has been fast-tracked.
Christina: So when you did it did you choose IELTS or OET for the language?
Sheriff: In the country i come from - Ghana - there wasn't and still isn't an OET center so International English Language Test for candidates from Ghana.
Christina: Oh okay so you had to do that one then.
Sheriff: I had to do the International English Language Test.
Christina: Yeah oh well it's worked out well for you anyway, hasn't it?
Sheriff: Yes, sure. Sure.
Christina: So finally then do you have any advice that you would like to share with aspiring UK nurses?
Sheriff: Quite a lot, because i think nursing in the UK is quite intriguing with a lot of career opportunities. Hundreds..thousands and thousands and thousands of different specializations, that can streamline one's practice. And then unlike other countries where career growth is based on long years of service in the UK the opportunity is for the competent.
Christina: Okay oh right so that's another difference.
Sheriff: Yes it doesn't really matter in the UK if you practiced for six months, one year or ten years, if there are some opportunities for growth the opportunity is open for every nurse for the least experienced or the most experienced, everyone goes to prove their ways. So it's growth is purely marriage-based not long service. I have come with others well, other candidates have come after me, some are even years after me, and if they're already earning charges some are becoming earning money just soon.
Sheriff: And these are things they had despite meeting other people in their various worlds who have been there for years even before they arrived. So nursing in the UK is quite intriguing and career-wise. It is very rewarding. I would recommend the UK to any candidate that I know and I can proudly say that after coming to the UK through my direct influence I have 8 friends who are, who have come over.
Christina: Oh really? Oh wow that's incredible.
Sheriff: Including other candidates that assign other candidates that I don't even know people who contacted me through social media asking how it is and they get inspired by my story. Some of them are here already.
Christina: Oh wow well i wonder how many more people you'll inspire from this.
Sheriff: Quite a few coming over after the lockdown the coronavirus issues are lifted, so nursing in the UK is quite intriguing and I would recommend coming to the UK for any prospective candidate, because it's quite rewarding both career-wise and the UK as a country is also a country of opportunity.
Christina: Yeah wow. Well, thank you for that, thank you I hope you inspire some more people who want to come. Well thank you so much Sheriff for coming on the podcast and thank you for all your inspiration and your advice and yeah enjoy the rest of your weekend.
Sheriff: Thank you, enjoy the rest of your weekend too.
Christina: Okay, bye.
Sheriff: Bye bye.
Christina: Thank you again to Sheriff for coming on the podcast and imparting all those wise words to everybody. I hope you enjoyed it and we will see you next time. As always, to your success.