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A Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) Competence Test Centre at Ulster University set up to increase nursing capacity across the United Kingdom (UK), is celebrating a successful first year.

The test centre at Ulster University’s Magee campus is one of only three in the United Kingdom and the only centre in Northern Ireland. The centre has not only helped to alleviate pressures on the health sector, but it has also become an economic driver for the North West with businesses across the city reaping the many benefits of increased visitor numbers.

Nurses and midwives registered outside of the EU/EEA are required to undergo comprehensive assessment in order to confirm their competency before they can practice in the UK. The purpose-built, designated test centre at the Magee campus delivers the objective structured clinical examination (OSCE), which tests applicants’ skills, knowledge and behaviours in a simulated practice environment.This is the final test that candidates must pass in order to gain registration as a nurse or midwife in the UK.

With a responsive approach to meeting the needs of individuals and organisations,  the School of Nursing at Ulster University facilitates much needed registered nurses, who have been recruited from overseas, in their journey to registration. This enables them to move forward in establishing their career in the UK whilst making a valued and essential contribution to the health of the public through their knowledge, expertise and experience.

Since opening in 2018, over 1800 nurses from countries including Canada, Japan, Philippines, India, Africa,  and Barbados have undertaken the OSCE at the Ulster University CTC and are now working in healthcare settings across Northern Ireland, England, Wales and Scotland. The new CTC facility at Magee Campus also serves the Independent Sector in enabling overseas nurses recruited to work in the Nursing Home sector, to undertake the OSCE ‎in Northern Ireland.

The new Competence Test Centre facility at Magee Campus also serves the Independent Sector in enabling overseas nurses recruited to work in the Nursing Home sector, to undertake the OSCE ‎in Northern Ireland.

Professor Carol Curran, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Life and Health Sciences, said:

At Ulster University we have been at the forefront of delivering excellence through nursing education and research for over four decades. Alongside our pre-registration and specialist programmes offered in the School of Nursing, this Competence Test Centre is making a tangible impact on the pressing challenges and demands of our health service.

The centre has helped to increase nursing capacity in the UK, allowing a greater choice of location and shorter waiting times for overseas nurses and midwives wanting to sit the test.”

Emma Broadbent, Director of Registration and Revalidation, Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) said:

“Our test centres play a vital role in ensuring that overseas nurses and midwives meet our standards and are ready to practice in the UK. I’m really pleased to be here today to celebrate the great work that happens to assess and support applicants, and also to recognise the key role of the centre in the wider community.” 

Dr Malachy Ó Néill, Provost of the University’s Magee campus said:

“As Northern Ireland’s civic university, our sense of civic responsibility is at the heart of what we do and why we do it. The Competence Test Centre at the Magee campus allows us to share our knowledge and expertise for the benefit of the local and wider national community while also supporting economic growth in the region.”

For further information on Ulster University’s NMC competence test centre, visit