The Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI) team members have carried out an in-person observation of the aptitude testing for overseas nursing applicants at the testing centre at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI).
Director of Registration, Ray Healy, Director of Education, Policy and Standards, Carolyn Donohoe, and their colleague, Professional Officer Lorraine Clarke Bishop, spent a day observing the different testing methods used to ascertain the competencies of those taking the tests.
A nurse who trained outside the Republic of Ireland and who wishes to register as a general nurse (RGN) in the Republic of Ireland, must apply to the NMBI for a recognition of qualifications. This involves a comparison of qualifications with the Irish education standards and requirements. One of the outcomes may be that the candidate must successfully complete a compensation measure approved by the NMBI. One such compensation measure is the Royal College of Surgeons (RCSI) Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery (FNM) Aptitude Test for Overseas Nurses.
The test was developed by Professor Thomas Kearns and gained NMBI approval in 2015. The team is managed by Dr Maria Neary. In the six and a half years between December 2015 and May 2022, 8,440 applicants from 46 countries have taken the test. In response to health service need, the number facilitated to take the test during the pandemic has more than doubled from that of the pre-pandemic years.
The test is based on the NMBI Standards and Requirements. The standard is what a newly qualified RGN in the Republic of Ireland would be expected to know and do in a safe and competent manner. It comprises both a theoretical and a practical component. The practical component takes place through 14 Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) stations, staffed by 44 assessors and centre co-ordinators on any given day from a team of more than 100.
NMBI Director Mr Healy commented: “We were hugely impressed by the professional organisation of the testing and also by how each test was managed. NMBI would like to thank Dr Neary and all her team for facilitating our visit.”