Everything you need to know about the NMC’s OSCE exam as an international nurse

NMC OSCE

Written by ID Medical

02/03/2021

As the UK’s largest multi-disciplinary medical recruitment agency, we support hundreds of international nurses relocate to the UK each year. Working with every single NHS hospital across the country, we guarantee an NHS post that will provide you with not only dedicated OSCE training and fantastic revision resources but a fully-refunded OSCE exam! Simply register your CV with us to find out more.

Want to know what the OSCE is and why you have to pass it? Keep reading!

As an international nurse, once you arrive in the UK and start your NHS role, you’ll have 12-weeks to successfully pass your OSCE exam to evidence your nursing skills and become a fully-fledged Registered General Nurse. But, with different locations and various nursing skills to be tested, we’re here to tell you everything you need to know about the OSCE exam!

What is the OSCE exam?

OSCE stands for Objective Standard Clinical Examination, which is designed to test you on your UK pre-registration practical nursing standards. The OSCE comprises of six separate stations, with a duration between 10-17-minutes. Four stations will be clinical-scenario-based which will relate to the four stages of the nursing and midwifery care process:

  • Assessment-holistic patient-centred care
  • Planning
  • Implementation
  • Evaluation

The two remaining stations will test your practical clinical skills.

When do I have to sit the OSCE exam?

Once you’ve arrived in the UK and started your NHS role, you must sit your first OSCE exam within 12-weeks of arriving in the UK. From sitting your CBT exam, you have two-years of passing the OSCE exam.

You will have three-attempts to pass.

How much is the OSCE exam?

The full cost of the OSCE exam is £794, reduced from £992 in April 2019.

The resit cost of the exam is £397 from £496.

Tip – Before you book and pay for your exam, enquire to see if your NHS trust will fund your examination.

Where can I sit the OSCE exam?

You must sit the OSCE exam in the UK and there are four-approved test centres:

  • Ulster (Derry-Londonderry) University
  • Northampton University
  • Brookes (Oxford )
  • Swindon (Oxford)
  • Each of the universities offer the OSCE in the different fields of nursing midwifery

What practical skills will I be tested against?

Typical skills which may be tested on their own or within a nursing/midwifery scenario include:

  • Basic life support (adult, child and baby)
  • Intramuscular injection
  • Subcutaneous injection
  • MDI= Metered Dose Inhaler
  • Peak Expiratory Flow (PEF)
  • MSU & Urinalysis
  • Catherer Sample of Urine
  • Removal of Urinary Catheter
  • Safe disposal of sharps
  • Medication administrations
  • Peak flows
  • Wound care Antt (15-minutes allocated for this skill)
  • Fluid balance
  • Hand hygiene
  • Calculating drug dosages
  • Vital signs
  • Palpation (Midwifery)
  • Auscultation of foetal heart (Midwifery)
  • New born check (Midwifery)

Will my communication skills be tested?

Yes. Communication is at the heart of nursing and the OSCE exam will assess your full range of communical skills (verbal, non-verbal and written). You’ll receive marks for:

  • Clearly explaining care, diagnosis, investigations and/or treatments
  • Involving the patient in decision-making
  • Communicating with relatives and healthcare professionals
  • Seeking and obtaining informed consent
  • Active listening
  • Dealing appropriately with anxious, upset, worried patients and their family
  • Giving clear instructions on discharge
  • Giving advice on lifestyle, health promotion or risk factors
  • Demonstrating compassion and care during communication
  • Professional behaviour
  • Adhering to the NMC’s guidelines

Mistakes to avoid

  • Lack of communication – verbal, non-verbal and not listening to the patient
  • Not reading the scenarios or instructions properly
  • Touching the patient before conducting hand hygiene techniques
  • Not checking for allergies
  • Not ensuring patient safety
  • Not gaining consent from the patient
  • Not completing the station within the timeframe

How will I be assessed?

Each station has a unique 20 criterion based assessment sheet which will be matched to the scenario or skill being assessed. The criterion is mapped against the NMC’s standards for pre-registration education and the NMC Code.

When it comes to your results,  the NMC will email them to your personal email address within 5-days of your examination. You’ll either receive a pass, a partial fail (this requires a partial re-sit at 50% cost) or a full-fail (where you’ll be required to resit the full exam).

The NMC’s OSCE exam is the final part of obtaining your NMC Registration so it’s important you do all of your research ancd successfully prepare to ensure you get the desired result. There are plenty of OSCE books and courses to aid your revision and use the most powerful tool available to you – your NHS colleagues.

ID Medical would like to wish you the best of luck with your exams.

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