Thursday, March 21, 2019

My UKRN journey (a little guide)

So it has been months already since my last post. In the past few months I was busy "adulting". I have been so tied-up with my OSCE review so I didn't have a chance to finish this blog until now. Finally I passed that nerve wracking exam and I'm now enjoying my UKRN (UK Registered Nurse) title... or maybe not? haha. Before I talk more about that, let me show you the timeline and fees of my UKRN application first:



  • Nov 2017 - IELTS
Your UKRN goal will start to have progress when you pass IELTS. I have some tips on how I passed the exam and it might work for you too. Check this link --> IELTS Self-Review.

  • December 12, 2017 - Employer interview 
I took the interview via Skype and got the job offer after 2 days. Different agencies and employers have different ways of doing the interview. Some employers will actually do a face-to-face interview.

  • March 19, 2018 - CBT (Computer-Based Test)
It's a 120-item exam that you'll do on a PC in a designated test center (either Cebu or Manila). Unfortunately, I can't talk about this exam because I signed an agreement to keep it confidential and you will too if it's already your time. Anyway, NMC and the right people will guide you so don't worry. I did my review for 3 months but if you're ready to take it, go for it! If I could turn back time, I'd take it after 2 weeks. It's easy when you have the right resources. 😉

  • April 18, 2018 - NMC Registration
This is where you or the agency will need to pay for the NMC application fee so you can start submitting your documents to them. After payment, you may be able to download NMC forms that needs to be signed by your head nurses/chief nurse, character references, your college and PRC. Your agency will guide you with all the instructions.

  • May 21, 2018 - Sent documents to UK via DHL or other courier
Once all forms are signed, you will need to send it via mail all the way to the UK. You also need to scan some of the forms and your documents (passport, TOR, PRC certificate, diploma, COE, etc) then upload it in your NMC portal before mailing. Again, your agency will guide you. The reason why it took so many days before I was able to send it is because I had to wait for my previous school and PRC to provide me the necessary documents and I had to chase some people for character reference. PRC will not give you the forms once they sign it. They will be the one sending it directly to NMC but you have to pay them for the shipping fee (usually 3k+ pesos). I suggest you give the other signed documents (from school and employer references) to PRC as well so they can ship all documents in one. They would usually agree.

  • May 22, 2018 - Submitted the application online
The only time that you can click on the submit button on your NMC portal  is when you shipped the physical documents already. Remember I told you about scanning the signed documents before mailing? You will have to upload it in your NMC portal then save the application without submitting yet. My agency wanted to make sure that all the details are correct so they had to access my nmc account online to check first before instructing me to submit it.

  • July 6, 2018 - Update from NMC
After waiting for more than a month, I received an email from NMC asking me for an explanation letter about my gap years (I was a call center agent for 5 years before I shifted to my nursing career). I just made a word document with bullet points of my previous call center companies, including the dates. I also made another document in a letter form explaining about why I didn't work as a nurse after graduation. I printed it, signed and uploaded in the portal. It was accepted by NMC. If you have gap years, I suggest you upload the explanation letter on your portal right away even if they weren't asking for it (on the CV/resume area, there would be an option to upload additional documents).

  • July 16, 2018 - Decision Letter
Finally, I got my decision letter! We're making progress here. If you only know, the waiting game was making me crazy. Just FYI, NMC will give a time frame of 60 days processing time from the day of your submission but you'll usually receive a feedback earlier than that.

  • September 11, 2018 - (COS) Certificate of Sponsorship
Then the waiting game continues. After 2 months I finallly received my COS! Once the agency submits all your documents to your employer, they don't have control over it anymore so the only option is really just to wait. Sometimes you will need to wait 1-3 months, depending with the employer. By the way, this would be the perfect time to resign from your job.

  • October 15-16, 2018 - IOM and Visa Appearance
IOM is like a TB test. They'll just take xray and some other basic tests. You will need to do this before the Visa appearance which I did the next day. Again, our agency was there to guide us. We just went there, gave our documents and had our pictures taken. You have to surrender your passport and it will just be collected by either you or your agency once there is a decision already. FYI - There is no formal interview for this. That was also my question before. Nothing to be nervous about the visa appearance.

  • October 26, 2018 - VISA Approved
So I just received a text that there was already a result for my visa application but they will not indicate if it's approved or not. The only way of knowing is by checking on the passport if there is a stamp already once it gets collected by you or your agency.

  • November 6, 2018 - Confirmed Plane Ticket to UK
And finally we were booked to fly! The UKRN dream was then becoming a reality.

  • November 12, 2018 - Arrival in the UK
The happiest day of my 2018. Finally I was free from all the hurt and bad memories with my ex haha. (he broke up with me 2 days before my birthday and got a new girlfriend after 2 weeks. WOW! Anyway moving on.

  • January 28, 2019 - OSCE day
Again I can't talk much about this exam due to its confidential nature. All I can say is, always practice and pray. By the grace of God, I received a congratulatory email after 3 days!

FEES (estimate)

Paid by the Agency
 P14,000 (initially paid by me but got a refund)
NMC registration
POEA fee
Plane fare 
Medical Test 
Visa fee
Immigration Health & Surcharge

Paid by me
IOM (TB test)
NMC pin
P8,250 (paid after OSCE)

Paid by the Employer

I was lucky enough to be with an employer who paid for my OSCE. 60k pesos is a big amount and other hospitals will just let you borrow money and you will have to pay it in instalment within 4-6 months.

So that's it for the timeline and fees! If you notice, it took me almost 1 year to process everything and arrive in the UK. But there are other agencies who can process it in just about 2-3 months time so if you want to leave the Philippines ASAP, do a good research on what agency to go for. Just make sure you have enough money. My agency wasn't perfect, they had delays because they paid  for almost everything (except for the IOM test) but they were really good in guiding us all throughout my application. Maybe their processing time now is better because they made changes where applicants will pay for the IELTS, CBT and NMC registration first and it'll just be refunded.

Sooo now that I already have my NMC (Nursing & Midwifery Council) pin, I have bigger responsibilities. Plus I'm assigned in a really busy surgical ward so sometimes it really gets stressful. There are times where I can't help but cry while on my way home (and sometimes in the toilet) because work is too much. It's nobody's fault. To be fair with my employer, they have been so supportive from the very first day. Maybe I wasn't just really ready to work in a bigger world especially for a first time OFW like me. But despite this, I know that better days are coming. I'll eventually get used to everything. I'm blessed to have my housemates/agency-mates/sizzies here (Krizia, Joyce and Jovy) who have been my source of strength and happiness when I'm feeling down.

For all the UKRN hopefuls, it's not going to be like a walk-in-the-park kind of life here. There are a lot of challenges but more than anything, being able to work here in the UK is a blessing. The people are mostly nice and polite. They seem to value respect and honesty. Ugghhh I love this country! But of course, Philippines will always be my first love. 😍💖

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  1. Thank you so much for sharing your journey! My husband is a nurse and is planning to go to UK. Do you have an idea about the possible way I could go with him?

  2. This is awesome. Thanks for sharing your experience.


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