As we all know, non-EU trained nurses need to take either clinical adaptation or the RCSI exam. For this blog post, I will be narrating about the adaptation program which I have undergone. I honestly do not have any idea about the RCSI exam, forgive me for that.
According to NMBI, in order for non-EU nurses to secure a placement, a Candidate certificate is needed. There are also six things to remember about adaptation placements as posted on their website which is as follows:
You or your employer must contact the health care facilities on the list to secure a placement
You must complete your placement in an NMBI approved health care facility for your division
You have 12 months, from the date on your decision letter, to secure this placement
Health care facilities may require you to have secured an offer of employment, subject to registration before they will consider you for a placement.
NMBI has no role in organizing placements, assisting with visas or permits or securing you an offer of employment
The minimum timeframe for completing the placement is six weeks, but the health care facility can extend the placement timeframe to 12 weeks. NMBI approval is needed for extensions beyond 12 weeks.
During the adaptation period, you are expected to accomplish the Competence Assessment for Nurses Tool, a case study, learning log and reflections which must be submitted before or during your final interview.
Some nurses were signed off after 6 weeks while others were extended up to 12 weeks. Do not fret or feel frustrated if your CNM or CPSN decided to extend your adaptation period. What is important is you do your best and be better every day. I prefer the extension than fail. “Are there cases of failure?” you might ask. For the sake of those who reckon that adaptation program is easy, there are nurses who had failed to pass the program.
So, here are some of my tips to those who will undergo the clinical adaptation (based from my own experience).
My CNM 1 (my preceptor) and CPSN’s comment during our intermediate interview was “We wanted to hear you talk.” I am a shy type person which might be misinterpreted at times so I am sharing this to you fellow nurses.
One of the keys to passing the adaptation is to show them that you have good communication skills. Talk to your patients, colleagues, doctors and other members of the health care team. Show them that you are eager to learn. Greet them, ask them how did they spend their weekend offs, listen to the usual topics during breaks, etc. Watch news about Ireland so you have something to talk about. You will usually hear “ What’s the craic?” which is “What’s the story?” in our term.
It might be hard at first because of their various accents and their expressions but you will get used to it. Believe me, you will get used to terms like, “Good woman!” or “Thanks a mil!”
Your evaluators and even the staffs who will become your colleagues want you to be confident. They want you to tell them, “ I will do this!” instead of waiting for them to tell you what to do. For instance, if a post-op patient is coming, prepare the OBS machine at the bedside for monitoring, check if there is a drip stand for IV fluids, check if the oxygen and suction are working. In such a way, your preceptor will notice that you are assertive. Just do not overdo it. Kumbaga, saktong bibo lang!
On the other hand, be honest if you do not know how to do a procedure or how to operate a machine. That’s understandable because you are from another country and the practice might be different in some ways.
Another feedback from my evaluators was that I don’t ask questions. I worked in a Medical-Oncology unit before but I was assigned in a Vascular Surgery ward here in Ireland. It was a whole new world for me but since I do not know what to do, I just let my preceptor do the talking. Folks, that is not the way it should be done. Learn that from me. Ask questions! They prefer that because they might think you know things already if you remain quiet. For instance, abbreviations. They love abbreviations here but some are not internationally approved. So, during the hand-over, underline terms and acronyms that you do not know or you are not familiar with and ask your preceptor afterward. Do not let that day pass without you finding out what these are.
Keep a diary
This was the advice of a senior Filipino nurse who gave us tips before we started the adaptation program. Always keep a record of what you have done in your duty. List down anything that is significant like for example, high blood sugar. Write the date, time, your assessment, whom did you escalate the findings and what you did.
Moreover, ask your preceptor how did you fare for the day. Write down in your diary his/her comments. For instance, the usual comments are, “Your grand!”, “You are improving!” If worst comes to worst (God forbid!), that after 12 weeks of adaptation, they still think that you are not competent, you have a proof to show them because you are keeping a record. This is just in case though, I strongly believe that you will not experience this situation.
Prayer is my strongest weapon. It is hard to live and work in a foreign country without any relative to help or console you. I thank God for my batchmates and for other Filipino nurses who are so kind to us. They assisted us and gave us words of encouragement to get through the challenges. Some even gave us clothes and uniforms! Truly, God is so good!
Pray for the area where you will be assigned. May bullying be not a problem. Ask God for guidance and wisdom. You will overcome because God is by your side, put that in mind.
In a nutshell, passing the clinical adaptation is not an easy task. But like any other hurdles of life, I know you can make it. Think about the PIN that you will get after 6 to 12 weeks and the benefits of being a Registered General Nurse in Ireland.
Who knows? One day we will meet and share stories. Or, like me, you might also decide to create your personal travel blog to showcase the beauty of the Emerald isle.
To motivate you, click the link to see some of Ireland’s top destinations I and my housemates had visited.