Since the OSCE training programme began at Airedale in 2019, the Trust has welcomed 15 cohorts of international nurses looking to develop their careers within the United Kingdom.
All 161 of Airedale’s OSCE students have since passed the exam.
Before registering as a nurse in the UK, overseas nurses are required to pass the Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE).
Liz Golden, Practice Educator at Airedale, left her role as an ICU nurse to develop and start the bespoke training programme:
“I’ve been an ICU Nurse at Airedale for over 23 years and, in 2019, I left that role to become a Practice Educator and set up the training programme.
Mark Stebbings, a retired Charge Nurse, joined the programme as a support trainer. Both Liz and Mark were committed to providing hands on training and continued with in-person sessions throughout the pandemic at The HUB in Steeton.
Currently, the exam must be taken in one of five approved testing centres across the UK. The Trust provided travel and accommodation on the night before, so the students were able to comfortably take the exam at the Northampton test centre.
“Colleagues from across the Trust have been very supportive and clinical specialists from different departments all came to deliver sessions to the students either virtually or face-to-face, dependent on government guidance.”
“Many of the candidates left their family back home to undertake this demanding programme and work as a Healthcare Support Worker at the Trust alongside their training. During the pandemic, the first three cohorts volunteered to work on a temporary register as nurses to support the Trust with patient demand. This shows the commitment they have to the community.”
Avinash Ganesh completed his nursing studies in India in 2012. Following this, he has worked as a staff nurse at an Advanced Cardiac Centre in Bangalore and in Koyili Hospital, Kerala.
Avinash wanted to further his career within the UK and began his OSCE training in November 2020:
“It was my dream to work in the NHS as it is one of the biggest healthcare service providers in the world,” says Avinash.
“When I researched different NHS trusts, I came across Airedale and was interested in getting to know more about working in a beautiful and calm village and life in Yorkshire.”
The OSCE exam requires candidates to sit ten stations that test a combination of their practical and theory skills by acting out scenarios that they would likely encounter when delivering care. The training prepares students for over thirty different scenarios and skills that may come up on the exam.
“The training was very intense and covered everything we needed to know for the exam and the Trust policies and guidelines.
“Our trainers were brilliant. When I spoke to friends who were also studying for their OSCEs in different parts of the UK, their training was online and mostly self-directed. The Trust did a very good job at designing our curriculum and appointed the best trainers to guide us through our OSCE journey.”
Once the exam is passed, candidates receive their PIN from the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), confirming that they are fully registered.
Since passing the exam, Avinash has been employed at Airedale as a Registered Nurse in the Acute Respiratory Care Unit and is now a Charge Nurse in the Cardiac Catheter Unit:
“The day I passed, I felt on top of the world. I was so proud of this milestone I had reached in my life.
“As soon as I found out my result, I phoned Liz and Mark, my mentors, to express my happiness and gratitude for all the training and support they had given us throughout the programme. They have constantly supported me throughout my career journey and their words of encouragement helped me to reach my full potential – I owe them my success.”
Mothy Aravind specialised in Critical Care in India for two years before moving to the United Kingdom to start the OSCE training course:
“The training was amazing and our educators, Liz and Mark, went through everything from the basics. Even though I worked as a registered nurse in India, there were quite a few differences here and there and the training really helped to build my confidence.”
“I still remember the day I passed. I was so happy and I couldn’t sleep that night as I was so full of joy. I kept looking at the email, reading it over and over again to see the result.”
After registering, Mothy joined Airedale as a Junior Sister on the Acute Assessment Unit (AAU) and has recently passed her training to become a Professional Nurse Advocate.
Airedale’s training programme also offered pastoral support and focused on getting the international recruits set up in within the local community by helping them to register with GPs, meet the locals and get to know the area.
“Running this programme has been the best job. The students are lovely and I have met some amazing people who are dedicated and committed to the training programme and to healthcare.
“A lot of the students keep in touch and I’ve even been invited to a few weddings.”
As of December 2022, Airedale NHS Foundation Trust and AGH Solutions employs over 400 staff members that have reported a nationality other than British.
Amanda Stanford, Chief Nurse at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust, says:
“This Overseas NHS Workers Day, we would like to say thank you to all of our amazing colleagues who have joined from overseas for the incredible work they do across the Trust.
“We would also like to thank the Practice Education team for guiding our OSCE recruits through their journey as they are key to the programme’s success.”