The OSCE team celebrated the latest cohort of nurses to become fully registered with a party in the training room.
The five nurses - Sanjana Sebastian, Jeeva Johny, Neethu Moncy, Abisola Olufemi-Dada, Glory Offong – joined the Trust in December 2019 but faced an extra-long wait to pass their final exams after the test centres closed due to the COVID outbreak.
The nurses continued to work at the Trust on the temporary register and the party, which featured a specially-recorded video from CEO Clare Panniker, was to thank them for their contribution during such an extraordinary time.
Elliot Rushen, practice development nurse for OSCE nurses, said: “The OSCE team and Cheryl Schwarz, our director of nursing, wanted to show our appreciation for the nurses who had the courage to join the temporary register and put themselves on the line to care for our patients.
“They had such a long wait, we wanted to celebrate their success. There was a lot of sadness when the test centres closed but now they’ve reopened everyone is feeling a lot more positive and getting back into their training. They’d all been looking forward to getting on the register.”
For nurse Sanjana Sebastian, passing her OSCE (objective structured clinical examination) was the latest step on a journey that has seen her and her husband move to Essex from India.
She said: “It was very challenging and there was nervousness but we got the proper guidance and support from our trainers. It was a great experience and I was very happy afterwards.
“The OSCE was the only thing left for us to pass to go from being a pre-registered to a registered nurse. When we were told that we’d be able to take our exams it was very good news for us.”
Elliot Rushen said the contribution the overseas nurses have made to the Trust cannot be underestimated.
“Currently we’ve got 84 nurses waiting to do their OSCE exam and we’ve had over a hundred pass through already.
“Initially it’s a big culture shock in terms of weather, people, even the language, but we do what we can to make them feel at home here.
“The overseas nurses have made a massive contribution. Before our recruitment drive we were spending a lot of money on agency nurses. Instead we have nurses who are going to be with for years as permanent members of staff. Safety and the patient experience should improve as a result.”