What is the OSCE?
The objective structured clinical examination (OSCE) is a practical exam for nurses and midwifes trained outside the European Union (EU) / European Economic Area (EEA) designed to test theoretical knowledge of nursing applied to clinical practice in the UK.
What is involved in the OSCE?
The OSCE is made up of six separate stations using simulated patients in a clinical setting. Four stations are designed to test the candidate’s knowledge and understanding of assessment, planning, implementation and evaluation of care. The remaining two stations test clinical skills. Typical skills which you could be tested on, within a nursing scenario include but are not limited to:
Calculating Drug Dosages
Intramuscular and Subcutaneous Injections
Basic Life Support
Safe Disposal of Sharps
Peak Expiratory Flow Rate
Why do you need to take OSCE?
The OSCE is designed to assess whether you can demonstrate competency and confidently apply your professional nursing knowledge to the clinical environment safely and effectively in the United Kingdom.
What will you be expected to know?
The questions in the OSCE will relate to current evidence-based practice in the United Kingdom. The equipment you will use in the OSCE will be the equipment currently used across the United Kingdom.
Where can you take the OSCE?
There are three universities which have approved OSCE test centers and a total of four locations where you can sit the OSCE.
University of Northampton
Oxford Brooks University – Oxford Campus
Oxford Brooks University – Swindon Campus
Ulster University in Northern Ireland
How can you prepare for your OSCE?
The approved test centres have published a number of resources to help you prepare for your exam, such as:
- A Candidate Information Booklet
- Mock OSCE Scenario
- OSCE Top Tips
Visit the relevant test centre website for more information:
You can also find links to materials that NMC has published below.
Essential NMC reading
- The Code– this presents the professional standards that all professionals on our register must uphold in order to be registered to practise
Standards of proficiency
- Adult (general) nursing
- Children’s nursing
- Learning disabilities nursing
- Mental health nursing
What can you expect on test day?
The OSCE takes place in a simulated clinical environment, so you’ll need to dress professionally.
You’ll need to present a valid passport so that the test centre can verify your identity. This must be the same passport that you provided earlier in your application.
Take the Exam
You’ll be giving an examination briefing before you start your OSCE.
Each station will have an overview with relevant information regarding the station. You’ll be able to see exactly what is required of you in each of the stations. All documentation you need will also be available for you.
Each station lasts between 10-17 minutes and staff will be there to help you move from station to station.
When will you receive your OSCE Results?
You’ll receive your results by email within 5 working days.
If you pass your OSCE, you’ll be sent an email with details of what to do next to receive your NMC PIN Number
If you do not pass your OSCE, you’ll be sent an email with feedback on which stations and elements you were unsuccessful in. This information will help you prepare for your resit attempt as you only need to resit the stations you did not pass.
How many times can you take the OSCE?
You can take a maximum of three OSCE attempts as part of your NMC application. You will need to wait at least 10 days between each sitting.
If you’re not able to pass your OSCE on your third attempt, your application will close and you will need to start a new application. You’ll need to wait at least six months before you can sit the OSCE again.
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