Psychiatric nurse during a consultation)

Overseas Aptitude Test – Psychiatric Nurse

Faculty of Nursing & Midwifery

Working as a psychiatric nurse in the Republic of Ireland

In 2022, RCSI's Faculty of Nursing & Midwifery (FNM) developed the RCSI FNM Aptitude Test for Overseas Psychiatric Nurses (hereafter referred to as 'the test'). Approval was obtained from the NMBI in September 2022. To be eligible to apply for the RCSI FNM Aptitude Test you must have an in-date NMBI decision letter stating that:

  • It is the Psychiatric Nurses Division that applies to your application.
  • You need to successfully complete a compensation measure and that one of the compensation measures is the RCSI FNM Aptitude Test for Psychiatric Nurses. If you already have an NMBI Decision Letter for the Psychiatric Nurses Division that does not reference the RCSI Aptitude Test but you subsequently received an email about this matter from the NMBI, then also upload the email with your application.

Structure of the test

The test comprises two parts:

  • Part 1: Theory or knowledge test or MCQ, which must be successfully completed before part 2 can be attempted.
  • Part 2: Practical or OSCE test

Both parts of the test are based on the NMBI Standards and Requirements for Nurse Registration Education Programmes and are what a newly qualified psychiatric nurse in the Republic of Ireland must be able to achieve. The test examines your potential suitability for registration as a psychiatric nurse with the NMBI and not just the suitability to work in one specific environment (for example where you may have an offer of a job).


Two attempts (that includes one repeat) are allowed for each of the two parts of the test. The theory test must be repeated in full. An applicant who fails at the first attempt of the practical part/OSCEs will be required to resit the OSCE station/s failed. You must allow sufficient time to prepare for the second/final attempt and a minimum of two weeks is strongly recommended.

Principles underpinning the test

In the Republic of Ireland, registered nurses and midwives are accountable healthcare professional practitioners working within a scope of practice. Fundamental to safe patient care is competent registered nurses and midwives.

The principles and values underpinning the test include:

  • The priority to ensure patient and public protection.
  • The test must assure the NMBI that the assessment methodology determines whether applicants meet the standards for safe, effective and competent practice in order to be eligible to register with the NMBI.
  • Providing a robust, fair, objective, valid and reliable assessment methodology.
  • Providing a responsive, efficient, effective, economical and equitable assessment for all applicants.
  • The competencies for entry to the NMBI register inform this assessment.
  • The assessment structure and process support the applicants to demonstrate the knowledge, skills and competencies that are determined by the NMBI in terms of the registration standards and requirements.


Both parts of the test are held in the Smurfit Building, Beaumont Hospital, Dublin 9.