HomeNewsUK Nursing Council Probes Nigerian Nurses over Exam Scam

UK Nursing Council Probes Nigerian Nurses over Exam Scam

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The UK’s nursing regulator is investigating hundreds of Nigerian nurses who may have cheated on their exams to work in the country. The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) said it had evidence of widespread fraud at a test center in Ibadan, Nigeria, where candidates took a computer-based test (CBT) to assess their medical knowledge.

The CBT is one of the two assessments that international nurses and midwives must pass to register with the NMC and practice in the UK. The other is a practical test that is taken in the UK. The NMC said it received information about suspicious data at the Ibadan test center in May and launched an investigation.

According to a report by the UK journal Nursing Standard, the NMC found that more than 1,950 candidates who took the CBT at the Ibadan center had invalid results and would have to retake the test. It also identified 48 candidates who likely used proxy testers to take the exam. These candidates are registered with the NMC and work as nurses or midwives in the UK.

The NMC said it would refer these 48 candidates to an investigating committee to determine if they had gained fraudulent entry to the register. They would also be given three chances to take and pass a new CBT and provide information about the circumstances in which they took the initial test. They will be removed from the register if they are found to have cheated.

The remaining 467 candidates on the register who took the test at the Ibadan center will also need to resit the test, even if they are not suspected of fraud or dishonesty. The NMC said this was because all results from the center were deemed invalid. Those who refuse to retake the test or fail after three attempts will also be referred to an investigative committee.

The NMC said it was working with Pearson VUE, the company that administers the CBT, to ensure the integrity of the test and prevent future fraud. It also said it contacted employers and other regulators to inform them of the situation and provide support.

The NMC’s chief executive and registrar, Andrea Sutcliffe, said: “We are very sorry for any distress this situation may cause affected nurses, midwives, nursing associates and their employers. We appreciate this is a difficult time for them, and we are here to help.”

She added: “We take our responsibility to protect the public very seriously and will always act swiftly and decisively where we have evidence that our standards have been compromised.”

Nigeria is one of the top sources of overseas-trained nurses and midwives in the UK, with more than 8,000 registered with the NMC as of March 2023. Many Nigerian nurses seek opportunities abroad due to poor working conditions, low pay, and insecurity in their home country.

However, some experts have warned that the mass migration of Nigerian nurses could negatively impact both countries’ health systems. They have called for more investment in training and retaining nurses in Nigeria and improving collaboration and exchange between Nigeria and the UK.

Despite the challenges, some Nigerian nurses are committed to serving their communities and upholding their professional standards. One of them is Esther Oluwafemi, a nurse who works at a primary health center in Lagos. She said, “I love my job and am proud of being a nurse. I don’t want to cheat or cut corners. I want to learn and improve my skills. I hope I can one day work in the UK or any other country with dignity and respect.”

Source: Businessday 

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