Local and national restrictions

We're aware of a number of local and national restrictions across the UK, however all three objective structured clinical examination (OSCE) test centres still remain open during this time.

The safety of candidates and test centre staff remains a priority for us and the centres will continue to operate in line with Covid-secure measures. Travelling to any of the three OSCE test centres to complete your OSCE is considered essential travel.

We're monitoring any restrictions and their impact on OSCE test centres, and will keep you updated of any changes.

Questions about your OSCE booking

If you have any questions about your OSCE booking or your circumstances change, please contact your test centre for support.

All three objective structured clinical examination (OSCE) test centres in the UK reopened on Monday 20 July 2020.

This page has more information on booking your OSCE and the safety measures we're putting in place at test centres.

Who needs to take an OSCE

All eligible overseas candidates that don't hold a comparable qualification, including those currently practising on the Covid-19 temporary register, need to successfully complete their OSCE before joining the permanent register.

Booking your OSCE

If your OSCE booking was cancelled because your test centre closed, you will get an email explaining your options for rebooking your OSCE.

If you don't have an existing OSCE booking, you can book your test by contacting your chosen test centre:

Test centres will prioritise candidates who are on the temporary register and accommodate any pre-existing bookings. Please speak with your test centre to confirm this.

Your safety

We know how important it is that people feel safe and supported when taking their OSCE and when going to work, which is why this has been a key consideration in all of our risk assessments.

We also recognise that many of the candidates for the OSCE are from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds (BAME) and that BAME people have been disproportionately affected by Covid-19.

Some of the safety measures we have introduced at test centres include:

  • asking candidates to complete a new health declaration to confirm they are fit and well before attending a test centre
  • testing candidates in a single bay with the same examiner throughout the OSCE test
  • adopting a one way system to carefully manage the flow of staff and candidates

You can find out more about these safety measures by watching this short safety briefing video or by visiting the relevant test centre website.

ID checks

It's possible that an NMC ID Officer might not be working on the day of your OSCE due to health or travel restrictions. If this is the case we ask that you leave your documents with us so we can process them at the next available opportunity.

We will store them securely and return them to you via Royal Mail Special Delivery within five working days.

If you require your ID for a flight, the test centre will take a copy of this document and return the original to you on the same day as your OSCE.

If you're on the Covid-19 temporary register

We're not expecting the temporary register to close in the immediate future, but if the temporary register closes you will revert to your status as a candidate.

This means you will not be able to practice as a nurse, midwife or nursing associate in the UK until you complete your OSCE and join the permanent register.

Once you join the permanent register, you will no longer have conditions on your practice.

Why you need to complete your OSCE

We're extremely grateful for the contribution of candidates on the temporary register. As you are currently working under conditions of practice, we need to ensure you have all the necessary skills to complete your overseas application and practise unsupervised on our permanent register.

So we can have that assurance, our regulations say that all those joining from overseas must take a test and, at the moment, that approved test is the test of competence, including the OSCE.

If you want to complete your application and join the permanent register, you can now book and take your OSCE at one of the test centres.

Can I stay on the Covid-19 temporary register if I fail an OSCE?

You do not need to pass the OSCE to remain on the Covid-19 temporary register, but we need to put measures in place to ensure that you are safe to practise while on the temporary register if you fail your OSCE.

You're allowed to remain on the Covid-19 temporary register if you fail your OSCE up to two times. Your employer will be notified and reminded of their responsibilities to apply the conditions of practice.

However, you will be considered under our formal temporary registration removal process if:

  • you fail a third OSCE, or
  • your first or second attempt resulted in a failure that led the OSCE assessment team to raise serious concerns about your clinical competence.

Your employer will also be notified in line with that process.