Sunday, November 16, 2014

Filipino Nurses Are Still in Demand in the UK

Copyright and Photo credit: Jacky Prayne

By Alon Calinao Dy: There’s a large number of Filipino nurses who have no jobs in the Philippines. It seems it is not the best of times to be a nurse nowadays, in the country or elsewhere. The nursing shortage is particularly seen in the United States, Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, and other European countries. 

The demand for nurses, particularly in the UK, has doubled to replace its ageing nursing workforce. Kings College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust, New Victoria Hospital, BMI Healthcare, and Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Trust reportedly have some demands of Filipino nurses to the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), as they are committed to fill all the recruitment requirements in order to hasten the process.

Last week, iHunt Inc. contacted me if I am interested to work in the UK as a nurse. According to the recruitment agency, the representatives of a UK hospital will arrive in Manila on the 3rd week of November and will interview potential candidates for sponsorship on Nov. 25-27 in a hotel in Bonifacio Global City (tentatively). This hospital is part of the UK National Health Service (NHS).

Meanwhile, those nurses who have been selected for sponsorship will expect the following:

1) iHunt will assist them in the credentialing requirements towards registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). Please take note that NMC changed the registration process on 15 October 2014.

2) The selected candidates will have to take the IELTS and obtain at least 7-7-7-7 in all bands, as required by the NMC.

3) As part of the NMC registration process, candidates will have to pay the following fees, with the payments to be paid directly to the NMC and to the online test provider (Pearson Vue).

a) NMC Application ----------------------------------- 140 British pounds

b) Part 1 Test of Competence (Online Test) ----  130 British pounds

The UK sponsor will assume the fee for the Part 2 Test of Competence (Practical Test), to be taken in the UK, costing 992 British pounds.

4) The formal sponsorship/migration process will be handled separately by the UK sponsor's designated POEA-registered agency in the Philippines.

5) Nurses who have not been selected for sponsorship will be included in the short-list for consideration towards other potential UK sponsors (a mixture of nursing homes and hospitals).

For this sponsor who will arrive on the 3rd week of November, only nurses with continuous nursing experience in the following areas will be considered: ICU, Accident and Emergency, Pediatrics, and General Ward. If you are interested in this program, please email iHunt about your interest. E-mail address is

Photo credit: Mariagracia Bustamante

I have a few conversations with iHunt, they stated that the process for nurses who want to live and work in the UK is now simpler, shorter and less expensive than ever before -- especially if the bulk of the fees will be shouldered by the UK sponsor.

The program in 2008-2009, nurses usually get a bridging course (5-6 months), with tuition to be paid, ranging from P200, 000 to 250,000 (depending on the school). It was a long and expensive process, which I truly agreed upon.

iHunt further said "now, there is no bridging course. What is involved is the 2-part test -- an online test and a practical test." To satisfy the NMC council, a nurse applicant needs to pass the eligibility assessment. 

A nurse will be required to sit the first part of the test of competence, which is theoretical practice-based knowledge and multiple choice that can be taken in test centers around the world. In the Philippines, we have a Pearsonvue Testing Center located at the Trident Tower in Makati City. 

The second part is what they called the "Objective-structured Clinical Examination (OSCE). This sort of test probably measures the clinical skills of a nurse when he/she encounters environment and people scenarios similar in the UK. 

Aside from that, a nurse needs to be registered in the country of origin with at least 1 year experience, has 7 band scores in  listening, reading, writing, and speaking, and in good health with no criminal record.

Filipino nurses are known to be competent, industrious, and caring at all times. Each year, the Philippine government has been supportive of sending thousands of nurses to different parts of the world, particularly the U.S., the United Kingdom, the Middle East, Australia, Canada and even New Zealand. 

Now that many doorways are open for Filipino nurses in the UK, let's help them reach and fulfill their long-time dreams to work overseas.