Specialist Language Courses

SLC present at the national OSCE Facilitator Conference

SLC was delighted to have been invited to present at the national OSCE Facilitator conference held in Newport on Sept 10th 2019.

The conference was organised by Aneurin Bevan University Health Board (ABUHB), one of seven NHS Wales Health Boards delivering care to Wales. SLC has been working with overseas nurses at ABUHB for 18 months, preparing them to achieve the scores required by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) in the Occupational English Test (OET) so they can register to work at the organisation.


The main part of the day was dedicated to the OSCE test – a clinical practice test taken by overseas nurses from outside the EU to demonstrate their clinical skills. It was fascinating to hear the stories of the nurses involved and the tremendous commitment they made throughout to achieve their aim of nursing in the UK. It was also interesting to hear the many changes the NMC has been making to the OSCE in order to streamline its rules and delivery.

We were invited along with OET to discuss how we prepare the nurses for OET, taken by nurses prior to the OSCE. There are clear connections between the two tests. OET is an English for Healthcare test, and the language used in the Speaking roleplays in particular reflect that which is then used in some of the clinical practice scenarios in the OSCE.


Our and OET’s presentations focused on the Writing part of the OET, as that is the paper most nurses struggle with. Chris Moore, SLC’s Managing Director, presented the audience – primarily OSCE facilitators – an overview of the test and a paper-by-paper breakdown of results illustrating the lower pass rates in Writing compared with the other three papers (Reading, Listening, Speaking). Bethan, SLC’s Academic Director, then showed how we address the writing skills of nurses in the online classrooms we use.

Finally, Brigita Seguis from OET showed how the Writing criteria were formulated and asked the audience to assess three pieces of candidate writing. Interestingly, many in the audience felt all three were of an acceptable standard in practice, whereas only one of the three actually achieved the grade B required by the NMC.

We felt it was a very useful and enlightening day and gave us real insight into the journeys taken by overseas nurses and those working with them. Many thanks to Lyn Middleton at ABUHB and her lovely team for inviting us.