Episode 8 - The One With Nurse Pragya - Licence To Practise Podcast - Nepal to UK - NMC OSCE
Episode 8 - The One With Nurse Pragya
Christina: Hello and welcome to another episode of License To Practise from IELTS Medical. Today we will be talking to Pragya a nurse who's been in the UK for quite a few years now and again she's had a slightly different route to becoming registered here in the UK. She already lived here before starting the registration process and she also worked in the NHS throughout her registration process as well so it's a really really interesting chat loads and loads of advice. So I won't keep you any longer, here is Pragya.
Pragya: Hello hi!
Christina: Hi good morning how are you today?
Pragya: I'm good, how are you?
Christina: Yes i'm fine thank you. Well thank you so much for coming on the podcast. I'm really excited to hear about you and your story. So would you be able to just start by telling us a little bit about yourself?
Pragya: All right. I come from Nepal and it's a small country as you might know it's the land of Mount Everest. Actually I came here in August, my name is Pragya. My full name is Pragya **** but you can call me Pragya. So I came to join my husband to live with him so he's been living here since i think a few years now it's been almost 10 years. We got married in April and it came to join him in the UK in August 2018. So that's how I ended up in the UK. So I'm a nurse. I used to work as a nurse, I graduated in 2011. I did my basic nursing work in a few places like community hospitals while I was in Nepal. I joined my graduation then I got, we got married. So yeah it's been kind of just a few years i think it hasn't been two years nearly two years in the UK.
Christina: Nearly two years yeah. So obviously you said you came to join your husband here he was already here. Did you want to come to the UK anyway? Was there a reason that you both picked here?
Pragya: I mean he was living here since long he came as a student and he's doing his PHD as a moment so he struggled a lot he did his Bachelor's, Masters and he's doing his PHD right now. So it's been a long journey for him but we just got married because we met through our parents. There was nothing about choosing the UK but I think for me it was like joining my husband.
Pragya: Ideally so for me, I think it was fate, it was not a choice but it was a fate that we came together.
Christina: And was it good, do you like the UK?
Pragya: Yeah at first I didn't like the weather but yeah it's nice.
Christina: Absolutely fair enough yeah.
Pragya: Yes gradually it's been fine for me because when you start working and fine at first when I came you have to apply to get your Insurance Number, you apply for your bank account. It took awhile to get in the weather and then while I came it was raining awfully so it was a bit of a bittersweet experience for me because I came to join my husband after three months but gradually when I started working it was fine it's been alright so far.
Christina: Yeah and if you got used to the weather a little bit more now?
Pragya: Yes I think I know how to dress well enough. I think I always get a cardigan even in summer when it might rain at any time. So yeah yeah i'm getting used to it now. With the weather and culture and everything.
Christina: Yeah I think the weather is one of those it's raining today actually isn't? Well it is where I am. I don't know whether it is where you are. Is it raining?
Pragya: Yeah it's raining since morning yeah it's not heavy but it's nice to have a cool boot because after it was so hot a few parts.
Christina: It has been very hot yeah, so obviously you've mentioned a little bit about the process of moving over and kind of settling into the UK. What was the actual process like of becoming registered here as a nurse?
Pragya: So actually I'm a graduate nurse from back home I've got six years of education so obviously when I came to the UK I always wanted to be a nurse as well because where you work before that's why you want to continue your career. So it was a bit of.. because I didn't have any mentor for me well i started like lots of people can do their theory test and their IELTS back home and then they just come here to join as a band 4 or band 3 healthcare assistant and they do their NMC and then they do their OSCE you know they get proper training. For me it was like an individual experience but when I came to UK so I decided to apply for NHS, my husband had friends in the hospitals so they just told me like if I joined somewhere else it won't be like I won't get any information on how should I continue about my career so I waited for four months I applied to so many places and finally got to join my Trust so which is **** so I worked as a Band 2 Healthcare Assistant in the first so I joined in wards. It was a good experience when I started. It was difficult for me to get the basics but I think to be a nurse and if you start from the basics that really helped for me. So I worked in the ward for seven months where I cared for my patients. I got to know about the NMC guidelines, health and safety measures, how you talk to the patients like how you communicate with people, obviously the hierarchy of healthcare and the safety and security of your patients and safeguarding. I learned so many things while I was a Band 2 Healthcare Assistant but side by side when I was working full-time I was also always at the mind that I needed to be a nurse. I need to, I'm not stopping here. I had a few friends from the Philippines and India because they were already in the world. So it was a good experience for me because I gave my OET by taking some online classes and so I gave my OET and obviously I needed money to pursue the NMC cost because I was not on a work permit so I came with a spouse visa so I had to do it independently. So I paid that's why I was working full-time and then I got to pass my OSCE last year so when I did my OSCE I waited for two months to prepare for my CBT so I got materials from my friends, they were already working as nurses and Band 5. So I had living examples like I could see so many of them passing OSCE which motivated me that I can also do it for myself. So I need to do it as soon as possible. And while I was doing my CBT what happened was I come from a community nursing background so I always had an interest in the community. I used to be a sexual health nurse in Nepal as well. So I work in Ngos and then I work with an international organization. I had some training so I always wanted to be a community nurse. But I was a bit confused if I would be able to continue my career in nursing and community. So I think for all if you're working somewhere if you're working in mental health nursing it'll help nursing. So people might think that when they come to the UK they need to go straight to hospital but I think that's not the case. If they can come to work in a hospital they can continue for a few years but they can expand their horizons with a lot of variety of options where you can work. You can work in so many departments but there's so many communities and hospitals and so many community centers where I think you have to have so many options or wherever you like to work. I got a chance within the Trust I saw the vacancy there was a Band 3 health care assistant so I applied for it and luckily I got into it. I was still working as a healthcare assistant so what happened was in between I passed my CBT and then I had to pursue my OSCE now.. So while applying with NMC because I had to supply all the documents like you used to do because when i started it was paper documents so my parents had to go to my uni.
Christina: Oh my gosh.
Pragya: There's a council so it was a headache at that time. I know it can be tedious and it can't be tiring. It can pull you down sometimes because of the process. But I think now it's become easier because they've done it online so everything is online. And the documentation can be tiring. You might feel a bit of pull down and waiting but I know it's not very bad I think three to six weeks and maximum two months they take.
Christina: Yeah it's fairly quick isn't it?
Pragya: Yeah yeah so they've been like they're improvised a lot because they want so many nurses there's lots of so many vacancies in here they want nurses badly so if you've got your English if you got your everything I think if you're determined to earn a bit more and have a really good experience working in the UK because you learn so many things you start from basics but you already have the knowledge so you might think that I might not be able to work in the UK but it's not the case. I think you can work anywhere in the world because if you've got your basic knowledge in nursing when you come to the UK you get time to understand the culture and the patient how we deal with the patients in here, safeguarding because you'll be trained for it. I mean it will be proper training so you won't be like you know..they won't leave you on the floor just like that. So I think yeah it was a really good experience for me and then I'm still working in sexual health because at the moment what happened was I did my OSCE and I submitted my documents and finally got my Decision Letter back in January I guess.. I think it was January and I was meant to go home. I think it's a different story while I did my OSCE. So what happened was I meant to go for my holiday but my husband had applied for his settlement visa and the papers didn't come true on time so I had a one month holiday booked but I couldn't go home. So what I decided was I just left my Decision Letter so I thought of giving an OSCE that would be the perfect time to utilize my one month holiday. So I found out about IELTS Medical and it was a really good experience. So I called..I think I booked an online course for 3 days but I think the 3 days course is really intense and then the mentors were really good. I met Nonny, I met.. I forgot her name oh sorry! So she was a different mentor so we had three mentors. We had an intense course. I met and made friends from various countries, they were nurses from Australia, America, Canada and I was from Nepal, there were some Indian friends and one friend from the Philippines, Hong Kong. I think we were there from all over the world. I mean intense course of three days they gave us all materials. I think there was clear and proper guidance but like obviously and the training wouldn't be enough you have to prepare by yourself at home. The more you practice then it'll be easy for you to pass. It can be a bit of you know emotional and then there's always a fear of OSCE but I think it really helped me to pass because I was that to mind and then if I wouldn't get that crap that course I would never have been able to pass I guess. You need guidance to pass. Like having a short course with IELTS Medical and if they are not working and if they book their holiday or prepare by themselves during the exam and it depends on individual experience. Some of them they need a lot of time to study but for me it was just revising what I used to do. Because I already work in the hospital so health and safety safeguarding wasn't a new concern for me. So I already knew how to talk to patients, how to communicate with patients.
Christina: Yeah, yeah you don't realize when you're coming over to do these you know all the things that you need to pass. I think it's important to bear in mind that you already know how to do the job. It's already your job isn't it? So even though you're learning it in a new language and things..
Pragya: Yeah I think it's like what you do and what you're taught in a nursing school I think that's the basic thing. And you come to the UK learning about UK Health and Safety majors it's the most important thing. I mean there's a different way of safeguarding. Safeguarding is the most highlighted session in one of our nursing jobs. It's about the patient's safety and your safety and workplace's safety. So it's just the basic things and I think the things you're already doing you just need to practice and be very rational about it. It's not rocket science! I mean it can be a bit tiring when you study but then I think when you do it, actually I feel so free now.
Christina: Oh do you?
Pragya: There's nothing called, I need to do my PIN number, I can think about my career, Im can apply anywhere. I still haven't started working as a nurse. I'm still a Band 3 Healthcare Assistant because I was a bit unwell after I did my OSCE. Right before my OSCE exam I had fever and then a common cold. It was back in February when I went to Northern Ireland so I was not very well during my exam. But luckily I passed it and after I passed it there was this COVID thing happening. Obviously I could not, and then I was already unwell so I had an allergy cough and asthma so I just stuck to the place where I'm working. They didn't have Band 5 vacancies so I'm still waiting if they can have vacancies but I applied to a few places now.
Christina: And do you want to stay in the community?
Pragya: Yeah because there are lots of jobs in hospitals but I decided to choose community so I think it might take a bit of time but I think within two or three months it will be sorted out for me. So I'm just trying to apply in communities and within the Trust and outside of Trust so I still want to work in the community rather than going to the wards. You know everybody has a comfort zone so I think for me community nursing is really my thing that's why I really learned from my basics.
Christina: I'm glad that this has come up actually because everybody else that we've spoken to so far they all work in the hospitals or on a ward or something. So it's good that you've been able to come on here and talk about community nursing because like you said before and a lot of people think that it's just on the wards. So it's good that you've kind of broken that down a little bit and we know now as well that you know there's other options there.
Pragya: There are a lot of things to explore. When you come to work within the Trust and you're really raw and new, it's really nice to start in the wards because you really have to know the basics. So after all you have to know health and safety and they'll train you for that and when you excel those things when you work for a while and if you are really interested in working somewhere in mental health. I think for mental health you need to be a mental health nurse, but you can also study that in uni just as a top course I guess. But while you're in the work permit you can explore major areas in hospitals. There are lots of areas you can work in even even in adult nursing. If you have done adult nursing you'll still be able to work in a community like district nursing you can work in sexual health and you can also work in endoscopy like you know outpatients. You can also explore safeguarding and that's how gradually you develop your Band as well the experience. And I think some of the Trust after working for a few years they also offer an educational mentorship. You know there's lots of courses you can also increase your Bands it's not like you'll be stuck on Band 5. You can be future matrons, you can be future ward in charge, manager so I think there's a lot of growth for you as well as in career-wise and yeah new knowledge-wise. So gradually you learn you started like a basic nurse but then when you gradually develop yourself you can excel so many things. And there's a lot of training within the NHS and I haven't worked in a private organization but within the NHS. I think the NHS is one of the best, what do I say the best employer I guess. The annual leave you get, the salary, the way they pay I mean the hourly pay might sound a bit funny for yourself but when you start new and fresh and especially if you work in London you get a high cost area supplement as well. So it's nice they pay for your transport and for your lunch. You pay tax but I think that the tax you pay will be paid back if you get in London or out London expenses. So I know London is a really expensive city but even if you're outside of London you can save a bit of money and you can support your family as well and also if you're planning to bring on family and get settled I think you can bring your partners you can bring your daughters and sons. You know like it's like it's a good thing for your family if you want to settle in the UK. Even if you want to work and go back I think it will be a very good experience it really depends on your choice either to be here or continue working or just work for a few years and then go back to your home.
Christina: Yeah it's flexible.
Pragya: Yeah it's flexible. So now they've introduced that the healthcare workers when they come in work permit they don't need to do IELTS separately I think they've approved the OET. So you are just going to do one english test for the Visa approval and the Visa process is really quicker for the medics.
Christina: Yeah wow you've given us a lot to think about there, a lot of great advice. And I mean.. I was going to ask if you had any advice for people coming over but I think you've given us quite a lot there. So do you have any final words of wisdom?
Pragya: I think I would say again if you really want to pursue and explore within the UK, it's a lovely country the people are lovely in here. You might get a bit of time, you need the time to settle in to understand the culture to understand the rules and regulations but when you come here and you'll be welcomed, we got lots of staff which are from black ethnic and minority groups and lots of foreign staff. I think especially London is so multicultural and all of the citizens are multicultural you won't feel that you're out of home. You can meet people of your own community as well you can meet different varieties of communities which you'll love. London is a lovely city. I particularly just love London. I've been out of London as well but when you come to London I feel like young. I think you'll still love London. I mean it might be a bit chaotic but you'll love it anyway. Apart from every chaos you love London and it's a bit of rush hours if you just extend that. If you see the transport system while you go to work you don't need to drive as well and then it's really convenient and for the people who want to come to the UK I would say just excel you English to OET or IELTS whichever you would want to do first and then in my home country, in Nepal most of the students they tend to choose Australia over the UK so there are only a few bunch of people who have chosen the UK. One of my friends she is in Manchester at the moment she came by herself and I did guide her so she is a living example, she joined by herself and she did contact a few agencies. I told her to come to London but the offer she got was better from Manchester or whatever and some of the Trust they also provide accommodations for the last few months so it's interesting if you just work hard for a few months in your home country and when you excel CBT and when you supply documents and the Visa processing is really easy. And when the NHS offers you a job I think when you come here you tend to learn so many things they'll train you within the Trust if you come and work they'll train you within the Trust. And after you pass your OSCE you can choose wherever you want to go. I mean the first few years there's a contract but there's within the Trust. There's lots of opportunities for you to excel so I think it's a really good experience and for the people who want to come to the UK. I would say you can choose. Okay, I think the nursing registration process is way a lot easier than in the US. If you think about NCLEX it's really tough, people choose whatever country but if you really want to come to the UK I think it's the easiest and most convenient process. NMC did a great job. I think I've heard of people who have worked before it was really hard for them to document, it took ages to exhale the process but the process has been cut down to a few weeks now from months. Because they want nurses obviously there's a lot of scarcity in here obviously with whatever going on, in healthcare. Healthcare is always. We really got to know how important our health is especially in medicine. Everything what's happening on at the moment so every country needs health professionals so if you're really looking forward to build up your career I can excel new culture and then I would obviously talk about earning as well if you have a good earning and if you want to support your family and also bring your family and settle in here after five years you get to apply for a permanent residence as well. So that's really good and then you're not coming as a random work permit so you're coming as a healthcare professional already. So you will start as Band for a while if you take my example I started as a Band 2. I never gave up so you will be coming as Band for a Band 3 healthcare assistant and within a few months you'll be working as a Band 5 and you'll be flourishing and then you'll be spot on in the wards. So that's how my experience was and I would really like to encourage people to work a bit harder on themselves. It's not that hard, it's just whatever you're doing and you can pursue whatever you want. And you can pursue nursing in the UK I think that's been my experience so far.
Christina: Well thank you. Thank you so much for sharing that. I mean I've learned a lot, I've heard a lot of things there that I haven't before and it's been quite nice actually to start because your route hasn't been the same as a lot of other people have spoken to because like you said at the beginning a lot of people already have a job when they come over here, a job offer and you know you came and started from a Band 2 so yeah you just showed that you can do it that way as well. So thank you so much for sharing that.
Pragya: I would recommend IELTS Medical if you're just looking for a short course and if you're just looking for an intense course it's really good for you even if you're not working in a hospital even if you're working in a care home you're preparing for exam by yourself at home. You can always choose IELTS Medical. I trust them. I really loved the experience. It was short and sweet to be a member of IELTS Medical but thanks to IELTS Medical for being there and mentoring us so that people like us can excel in our career so Nonny was always helpful for me so she was our mentor. Whenever you can communicate with her she was always helpful so it was a short course like the preparation in London especially I don't think so many institutes do this. So you'd really go to a proper NHS hospital to get trained like in centers and Guys. I think it was a really good experience for me with IELTS Medical and thank you so much for having me for the podcast I really liked. And I'm really thankful that you chose me to speak about my experience. You don't really get to do that for yourself to share it. I'm glad I'm really thankful for you guys too.
Christina: Well we're thankful for you because it's been a really interesting chat and I think it's going to help a lot of people so thank you, thanks for coming on.
Pragya: Thank you so much.
Christina: Okay well enjoy the rest of your day.
Pragya: Yeah thank you.
Christina: See you later, bye.
Pragya: See you later, bye.
Christina: Thank you millions to Pragya for coming on and and sharing all that advice absolutely loads and loads of advice in there so i really hope that she's inspired a few more of you to start the registration process. Thank you, thank you so much and as always to your success.