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Nursing Overview - Ireland Adaptation and Aptitude test

You’ve now received your decision letter, however the NMBI has stated, before you can be fully licensed, you’ll need to undertake a period of adaptation & assessment also known as the Adaptation Program or Aptitude Test. So what is the Adaptation Program & Aptitude Test? Why do you need to take this & how do you organise it?

Why do I need to complete an additional Assessment Program or Test?
NMBI requirements are based off the amount of theoretical and clinical hours that are completed in an undergraduate nursing/midwifery program in Ireland. When you submitted your documents in the application pack for assessment, these documents would have outlined the number of theoretical and clinical hours you completed in your own undergraduate degree. For Australian and New Zealand degrees, this is often less than what is completed in Ireland. As such you are required to undertake a practical assessment in order to compensate for this difference. There are two pathways to do this – the adaptation program or the aptitude test. You have 12 months from the date of your decision letter to travel to Ireland and complete this part of the registration process.

How do I organise the Adaptation Program or Aptitude Test?
During the 90 day assessment period with NMBI, CCM can assist you with your employment applications. If you’re successful in securing employment, the hospitals we work with will assist you in organising your adaptation program or aptitude test. Some hospitals will offer the adaptation program, some will require you to sit the aptitude test through the RCSI (Royal College of Surgeons for Ireland).

Either way, the majority of our hospitals will:

- Assist with your flight to Ireland

- Assist with initial accommodation

- Pay you as a student/assistant nurse during the adaptation period/ aptitude test period

- Provide financial assistance towards the cost of the aptitude test if you take this option

- Employ you full time as a Registered Nurse upon completion of the adaption period/ aptitude test

What is Adaptation?

Adaptation is similar to a preceptorship program. The hospital will assign you a Registered Nurse/midwife to shadow you for 6 weeks. During this time, you’ll complete various theoretical and clinical competencies which fall under 6 domains:

  • Professional values & conduct of the nurse
  • Nursing practice & clinical decision making
  • Knowledge & cognitive competencies
  • Communication & interpersonal competencies
  • Management & team competencies
  • Leadership & professional scholarship competencies

Some of the content that will be covered includes but is not limited to:

  • Cultural and social issues
  • Values for nurses
  • Organisational policies & procedures
  • Basic life support
  • Sepsis
  • Infection control, hand hygiene & waste management
  • Principles of effective communication
  • Reflective Practice

Your assessor will have an assessment tool to complete. Upon completion of the 6 week program the assessment tool will then be submitted to your Director of Nursing and then the NMBI board. You’ll then proceed to work with that hospital as a fully licensed Registered Nurse.

For more information on Adaptation and a full copy of the assessment tool please visit the NMBI website.

What is the Aptitude Test?
For hospitals that do not offer the adaptation program, you will need to sit the aptitude test. This a 2 day exam conducted in Dublin through the Royal College of Surgeons for Ireland (RCSI). The test is based on what a newly qualified general nurse in Ireland should be able to demonstrate.

Day 1 - Theoretical components.
The exam is a supervised online assessment consisting of 150 MCQ. You’ll have 3 hours to complete the exam and a minimum of 50% must be achieved in order to pass. The option to repeat the exam in full is available for those who do not achieve a pass mark.

Day 2 - Practical components
There will be a number of stations set up in the exam hall each covering a different clinical competency pertaining to that of a general registered nurse. A minimum of 14 stations up to 20 stations must be complete.

Each station will have a description of the clinical scenario at hand. You will then have 10 minutes to complete the task of that station before you proceed to the next station. There will be two assessors, both qualified nurses, at each station. Stations will either have a mannequin or one of the assessor acting in a role for the purpose of the clinical station. When the allotted time is complete the assessment ends, regardless of if you have finished or not. Each station is pass or fail. You must be successful in 75% of all stations in order to pass the clinical exam overall. The option to repeat any failed stations on a second day is available to those who do not achieve a minimum of 75% in total. You do not need to repeat the stations that you have passed successfully.

Content that is covered may include but is not limited to:

  • Blood product administration
  • Infection control policies & waste management
  • Diagnostic tests
  • Chest pain management
  • Medication preparation
  • Blood glucose monitoring

Preparation is necessary to achieve a successful result with the aptitude test. The RCSI website has an extensive range of additional study materials. CCM will also provide you with study materials.

What happens once I’ve completed the Adaptation Program/Aptitude Test?

Upon successful completion of the adaptation/aptitude test you will proceed to be licensed as a Registered Nurse and commence work.

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