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Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust in the UK has made it possible for overseas nurses to get their OET English language qualifications, by creating a test venue in-house.
The move was part of a drive to get nurses into their roles, despite the current exam restrictions posed by Covid-19. The nurses, who were mostly from Portugal, had already been recruited to work at the Buckinghamshire NHS Trust – but lockdown measures had meant they faced a number of delays in being able to take OET to complete their NMC registration.
The Trust worked closely with OET and test delivery partner British Study Centres to allow them to set up a test venue on one of its sites, following not only stringent test guidelines but also with strict social distancing measures in place. The first batch of nurses took their test on 13 June and a second batch will do so later in the month – and if successful they will be able to join the rest of the nursing workforce at the Trust who deliver care to people in and around Buckinghamshire, UK.
OET has been specifically designed to accurately reflect candidates’ ability to communicate in an English-speaking healthcare environment. Test material is underpinned by ongoing research to ensure OET remains relevant and accurate.
Mickey Bonin, Head of Strategy and Product at OET, said:
‘The current restrictions on exams has a had a huge impact on nurses getting the qualifications they need to start work and I’m delighted Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust have taken this important step. OET remains an essential qualification for nursing as it reflects real life tasks and relevant language skills that healthcare professionals are likely to face. English remains a crucial skill for nurses and I’m sure that all of the nurses will make a huge impact at Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS trust and play an important role in the global healthcare community.’
Two tests took place throughout June with strict social distancing measures in place. The team at Buckinghamshire brought in an external company to assess the test, with a view to continuing the partnership once the pandemic is over.
The Trust’s Deputy Chief Nurse Workforce Transformation, Jeanette Tebbutt, said: “I am so proud that we are the first Trust to support our non-UK trained nurses in this way. The COVID-19 crisis has forced us all to think about new and, sometimes, better ways of working. An on-site exam venue is more practical for our overseas nurses, which is why we will continue to offer this beyond the pandemic. We had 32 nurses waiting for their English exam since March. They are ready to go, eager to get to work and excited to fully join the team here in Buckinghamshire. Good luck to them all!”
Nadia Falou, Group Examinations Manager British Study Centres Manchester said:
“The security of the test and the safety of candidates were our top priority in delivering OET at Bucks. We were delighted that by bringing OET to the candidates we were able to save time and money for the Trust and reduce stress for the nurses involved. We look forward to continue working with NHS Bucks and partnering with other Trusts on onsite delivery, even after Covid-19.”