Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Coláiste Ríoga na Máinleá in Éirinn

Application process and documentation required

Last updated (15/04/19)

A) Working as a General Nurse (RGN) in the Republic of Ireland

In order to work as a nurse in the Republic of Ireland a person must be on the Active Register of the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI).  A person who trained outside the Republic of Ireland must undergo a regulatory assessment by the NMBI. When the assessment by the NMBI is complete, the outcome may be:

To register the applicant 
To refuse the applicant registration 
As a pre-requisite to registration, the applicant must successfully complete either: 
(a): The RCSI Aptitude Test 
(b): A period of adaptation and assessment.

For details of the registration process with the NMBI click here.

B) Apply to the NMBI

You submit/arrange submission of various documents to the NMBI for a full regulatory assessment. Upon completion of the NMBI regulatory assessment, a Decision Letter (which has an expiry date) is issued. One of the outcomes of the regulatory assessment may be that you have to undergo one of two compensation measures. Refer to the NMBI.

C) Compensation measure options

Until December 2015, the only compensation measure available was the adaptation and assessment programme and the places available did not meet the demand. In 2015, led by Professor Thomas Kearns, the Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery (FNM) at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) developed the RCSI FNM Aptitude Test for Overseas Nurses (hereafter referred to as the Aptitude Test) as an alternative to the adaptation and assessment model for assessing the competence of overseas educated and trained nurses. It was developed following an extensive review of the national and international literature, and following a national survey and consultation with stakeholders in the Republic of Ireland. It gained approval by the NMBI. Since December 2015, the FNM coordinates and manages the Aptitude Test for overseas nurses applying to register as a general nurse (RGN) with the NMBI.

D) Which compensation measure

Decide what is best for you. Before you decide which compensation measure to pursue, fully inform yourself. Details of where to get further information on both compensation measures are contained in the NMBI Decision Letter.

Regarding the Aptitude Test you are strongly encouraged to fully familiarise yourself with Information for Applicants PLUS all the links contained in this document. Refer to this webpage. You should consider if you are: a) Eligible to take the Aptitude Test; b) Ready/Prepared to take the Aptitude Test; and c) Interested in taking the Aptitude Test.

If you decide that the compensation measure you wish to pursue is the Aptitude Test, then an on-line application is made and 4 documents are uploaded: NMBI Decision Letter; Biog page of passport/ID; Recent photograph; and Proof of Payment. If satisfactory, an invitation is sent for the Aptitude Test that is open.

To allow for the following steps to be met and to allow for travel and other arrangements, each Aptitude Test opens approximately 15 weeks in advance. Only one test is open at a time and as soon as one test closes the next one opens.

E) Atypical Working Scheme (AWS) Letter of Approval

If you require it, application is made (without delay) for an AWS Letter of Approval. Provided all required documentation is submitted in a satisfactory manner this can take a minimum of 4 weeks. RCSI cannot answer any queries in relation to immigration requirements. Refer to immigration.

F) NMBI Candidate Registration Certificate (CRC) 

You apply to the NMBI for a CRC. An invitation (the email sent by the RCSI with the invitation) to the Aptitude Test must be submitted with the application for the CRC to the NMBI. Provided all required documentation is submitted in a satisfactory manner this can take a minimum of 2 weeks. This CRC, which has an expiry date, must be in date for the duration of your Aptitude Test and therefore if at any point you request and get a change of date for the Aptitude Test then you must apply to the NMBI to request a date change in the CRC and again you must allow a minimum of 2 weeks. Details of the CRC are included in your NMBI Decision Letter. RCSI cannot answer any queries in relation to the CRC.

G) Entry VISA

Application is made (without delay) for an Entry Visa. Supporting documents required may include your NMBI decision letter and/or your NMBI CRC (both of which have an expiry date) and your AWS Letter of Approval. RCSI cannot answer any queries in relation to immigration requirements, including employment needs. Provided all required documentation is submitted in a satisfactory manner this can take a minimum of 8 weeks. Refer to immigration.

H) Reminder email

The week prior to the Aptitude Test for which you are scheduled (usually 10 days in advance) a REMINDER email is sent to you. In order to secure your place on this test date, you must reply before 8am (Irish time) on the Wednesday prior to the test. You must be sure that you will attend before replying 'YES', for example, you must NOT reply 'YES' unless the VISA/other requirements have been issued. If a 'YES' reply is not received by the due date and time, the place will be immediately offered to the applicant at the top of the waiting list for the test. If a 'YES' reply is received after the closing date and time, then you will be placed at the bottom of the waiting list and whereas every effort will be made to accommodate you, a place is not guaranteed.

I) Theory/MCQ/Knowledge Test 

Your NMBI Decision Letter must be in-date on the date of the Theory Test. Your NMBI CRC must reference the RCSI Aptitude Test and must be in date for the duration of the Aptitude Test (both MCQ and OSCEs). The onus is on you to ensure that all details on the CRC are accurate. The CRC must be in paper format: either original or a clear photocopy (colour or black and white). An electronic version of the CRC is not acceptable. The onus is on you, the applicant, to ensure compliance with the NMBI requirements regarding documentation. Failure to comply may cause issues/delays in finalising your application for registration. All queries regarding the Decision Letter and the CRC to the NMBI only (not RCSI). In order to gain entry to the Theory Test you must have only the following two documents: Passport/ID and NMBI CRC. 

Results of Theory Test are issued via email by 2pm on the Tuesday following the test and if you pass then this email contains details of your OSCE/Practical Test.

J) OSCEs/Practical Test 

 If you are successful in the Theory Test, then you are invited to the OSCEs/Practical Test the following week. Unless specifically requested, you do not need to bring any documentation with you. Results of OSCEs/Practical Test are issued via email by 2pm on the Tuesday following the test and if you pass then your results are sent to the NMBI.

K) Outcomes 

If the Aptitude Test (both parts) is passed, then the results are issued to the NMBI. You must now pay the NMBI registration fee. 

If either part is failed on the first attempt, then a proposed date for the repeat is offered. 
If an applicant fails either part of the Aptitude Test on the second attempt, then the NMBI is informed.

Full details on the documentation required can be found here.