Introducing our new Internationally Educated Nurses ‘Releasing your Potential’ Programme

Introducing our new Internationally Educated Nurses ‘Releasing your Potential’ Programme

ShinyMind are now offering a new psychological wellbeing and development programme to empower Internationally Educated Nurses and Midwives (IENMs) to successfully pass their Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) first time.

Since the pandemic, the first-time pass rate of IENMs completing the OSCE has seen a significant decline. Through our work with IENMs who were successful, we discovered the pressure many internationally educated nurses and midwives felt to succeed, but also the passion they had to be the best nurses and midwives they could be. It became clear that their negative perception of the OSCE significantly increased their anxiety beforehand and impacted their self-belief and self-efficacy. However, these nurses and midwives that had successfully completed OSCE felt it was achievable, and once they had succeeded, they felt empowered and motivated.

The OSCE motivates you out of your comfort zone and helps you feel more confident. When you actually do OSCE it helps you learn about your own abilities, be more resilient, it is actually doable – when you pass you feel like you can achieve anything!

Feedback from IENM Stakeholder session

Our ‘Releasing Your Potential’ psychological wellbeing and development programme aims to support, equip and empower IENMs to unlock their potential, as well as to reframe their perception of doing their OSCE, by participating in weekly 2-hour webinars over four weeks and completing pre-empowerment work on the ShinyMind app to further enhance their preparedness to succeed in their OSCE.

ShinyMind CEO, Founder and lead psychotherapist, Bec Howard, recently spoke to the Nursing Times to share the ambition of the programme, which launched in January with it’s first cohort of IENMs in collaboration with NHS England South East:

“We know about the placebo effect, but there is also the nocebo effect: a negative belief causing a negative feeling. If we continue to tell the story of ‘OSCE is negative and difficult’, then we build that up and that’s how people will behave. We want to change the story; OSCEs are there to help you know you can achieve, you can fly, you have the confidence. Turning that into a positive takes away the negative expectation, will improve results and people will have a softer landing.”

Rebecca Howard

Psychotherapist, CEO and Founder


Through the programme, we are witnessing IENMs open up and share their experiences, their thoughts and emotions, which helps build up a sense of common humanity, that they are not alone and that others are also feeling the same way.

ShinyMind are currently collaborating with educators and IENMs who have completed their OSCE to co-create a new interactive toolkit for Internationally Educated Nurses and Midwives, which participants of the programme will get access to. Key pillars of support include:

  1. Life Support – Being Well and Ready
    • Taking control of our thinking
    • Being assertive and confident
    • Sharing stories
  2. Preparedness and Education
    • ‘Test Anxiety’ Symptom and Causes
    • Strategies and Resources
  3. Platform – personal skills to aid career
    • ‘Talk series’
    • Community support

This work could not have been possible without the support and drive of Debbie Knight, Head of Clinical Quality – Workforce at NHS England South East and Xolani Viki, NHS England South East Programmes Manager who hope this programme will help to improve the first-time pass rate of IENMs taking their OSCE and improve retention of these incredible nurses and midwives who strengthen our NHS.

We have heard how the OSCE makes those who have to take it feel fearful and uncertain about their abilities as a nurse or midwife. This programme has been designed with and for international educated nurses and midwives to build confidence, reaffirm your skills and help you see your potential to build a career. We believe in you, and we want to make sure you feel prepared and have the self-belief to be at your best when you take the exam. This is the beginning of your career; it is achievable.

Debbie Knight

Head of Clinical Quality – Workforce

NHS England South East

Read the recent Nursing Times article on the ‘Releasing your Potential’ programme for Internationally Educated Nurses and Midwives here, or get in touch with us at for more information about how you can get involved.