Bethany Thompson has become Oxford Health’s first overseas mental health nurse to complete our international programme and gain UK accreditation – in time to celebrate Mental Health Nurses Day.

Bethany, 27, from Sydney, Australia, completed the six-month programme giving he​r the essential Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) registration to use her skills to work here.

She is now a mental health nurse at the Highfield Unit – a children and adolescent mental health service (CAMHS) inpatient unit at the Warneford Hospital, Headington.

Before moving to the UK Bethany was a mental health nurse working with children and adolescents in her home city for four years. She gained a breadth of experience working in adolescent medicine, adolescent eating disorders, and most recently in the paediatric emergency department.

Although she’s a qualified nurse, she could not practice her vocation here without completing the overseas course and getting her NMC registration.

Oxford Health paid the £992 fee for the objective structured clinical examination (OSCE) and Bethany studied as she worked, as a band three healthcare assistant at the Highfield, allowing her to settle into a new city and find her feet in the NHS.

Bethany said: “I decided to work in CAMHS mental health because I witnessed the social and psychological struggles facing young people. I wanted to support them to help them overcome these challenges.

“Having my OSCE exam costs covered by the trust removed a lot of financial stress in the move to Oxford.”

And, as she urges other overseas nurses to follow her lead, she added: “I’m so glad I took the leap. Oxford Health is fantastic place to work, I love my role on the ward and I feel so privileged to be working around some incredible young people. I truly feel a part of the Highfield team.”

Now a proud Oxonian having moved 10,000 miles from home, she said: “Oxford itself is a beautiful city to live in, there is so much history – with almost every building having a story to tell. It is surrounded by meadows and waterways that are a lovely escape from the bustling city centre.”

If you are interested in our international nurses programme and hold an overseas nursing qualification with 12 months’ experience in mental or physical health, find out more about the programme. If you would like further information on how Oxford Health can support you to undertake the OSCE test and obtain registration with the NMC please email careers@oxfordhealth.nhs.uk

Oxford Health works with Oxford Brooks University to help students prepare with online study materials. Tests include a multiple choice and a clinical examination OSCE exam, which demonstrate nursing skills.​