Posted on: 22 June 2023

Over the last two years CNWL has been part of a scheme led by NHS England to attract nursing talent from overseas.

Since the launch, the Trust has recruited 126 nurses who work across mental health and physical health services.

Already 22 of the Trust’s international nurses have been promoted to Band 6 senior nursing positions; showing the quality of the candidates.

Many of the nurses come from Indian, the Philippines and Africa. The programme also includes refugees who have resettled in the UK. They work across the Trust in London and Milton Keynes and have settled into the UK quickly with training and support. When compared to other organisations, the Trust finds that their new nurses stay – there is a 10 per cent attrition rate across London but CNWL’s is around 1 per cent.

Nathaniel de Villiers, International Recruitment Project manager, said

“We couldn’t do what we do without them. They bring a huge amount of professionalism, determination and enthusiasm and arrive with good knowledge and experience particularly in physical health nursing in busy departments. We’ve increased our staffing levels significantly thanks to them.

“The range of cultural knowledge and experience is crucial too when working in our diverse communities. Many of our new recruits quickly become dual trained to work in mental health with all the knowledge of how to support someone’s physical health at the same time.

“We support them with a comprehensive integration programme. This offers them all the training they need upon arrival and makes sure they have a support network in place with links to local networks and societies. We always place nurses where their strengths are and offer flexibility to try new things too; for instance they have the option to rotate to get to know areas they haven’t worked in previously.”

The Trust’s programme also prepares nurses for their Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE). All global nurses need an OSCE to register with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) and work in the UK. It helps them acclimatise to the UK health service and with cultural immersion and developing confidence in day-to-day life in the UK.

Recent recruits share their feedback on the training

“Passing an OSCE exam on my first sitting has always remained a dream which was nurtured into a fully fledged possibility through a process of highly informative quality OSCE training from the CNWL NHS Trust Clinical Educators, who positioned me in a space of sheer readiness for the OSCE exam and my career as a whole.

“I am proud to say that the OSCE training has also shaped me for the amazing career ahead of me, especially where clinical skills, prioritising people, preserving safety, practicing effectively and promoting professionalism and trust are involved.”

“Thanks to Nathaniel DEVILLIERS, Claudia Salazar, Audrey Bossman and Yinka Ogunbanju who transformed my weaknesses to strengths. Their approach was supportive, individualistic and team- oriented, clinical, efficient, structured, scientific, academic and intelligible. The training programme has afforded me enough motivation and an opportunity to grow into seeing myself as professional who will pass the exam first time, and indeed I passed. Again, I am so indebted to our clinical educators. “

“I have done it and I've learnt to believe that it's possible.

Bandile Msizi Maphalala


“The OSCE training was very informative. All mentors ensure that we know and understand everything. They give each station practice material, also guiding us on how to approach each station. Allowing us to practise the APIE and skill station, gives feedback which was very honest and comprehensive, and it is very helpful. They were always available to deal with queries that we have, very supportive and encouraging.” Lijo Jose 

Elma V. Gozun, a district nurse at Hunter Street Clinic in Camden talks about the importance of being supported well

“From documents and requirements, to visa application up until the day I arrived here in the UK – I never felt doing this alone, I feel so supported and treated like a VIP.

“Our Trust even sent our Nurse Educator to welcome us that day we arrived and gave us the welcome pack personally in our accommodation.

Elma.jpgShe showed us around and accompany us whenever we have appointments as we settle ourselves in this new place. But it didn’t end there. Up until today where I am already on my 6th month here in London UK, those 3 firms whom I started my journey with has always been there constantly sending me messages to update and check on me. How amazing is that?

“Working in the NHS has given me a lot more confidence in myself most specially in my field of profession. My colleagues and managers made it easy for me to learn and understand my new role and tasks that I am expected of. They always bring out the best in me through constant supervision and training to further my skills and knowledge as a nurse.

“I may have missed my family back home, my husband and my kids, but I never feel alone working here and furthering my career in Nursing as I got the right people and place behind me, beside me all the time.

“Living and working abroad has never been easy - but with this kind of support and people around, it never felt hard for me to adjust and adapt to where I am now.”

The International Recruitment Team would like to thank managers across the Trust who have supported the programme well. 

 Nathaniel continues

“I get emails daily asking to come and work for us”