North London Partners in health and care

Being a registered nurse will open so many more opportunities

Evan Lawrence Arceo
NMC registered nurse

“In the Philippines I was an experienced dialysis nurse. I decided that I would like to work in care in the UK and arrived in February 2010 on a student visa. I enrolled to study Health and Social Care Level 3 and graduated a year later. 

“I looked for a company to provide sponsorship for me to work in the UK and Spring Dean nursing home in north London employed me. I started as senior carer but that home closed and I was transferred to Spring Grove in Finchley in 2015, where I was promoted to team leader. I qualified as a Level 3 manager and have since done my Level 5 in Operational Management and became the Assistant Manager.

“I always wanted to be a registered nurse, just as I was in the Philippines, but the English language test was a real barrier. I studied hard for the IELTS exam and made my first attempt in November 2011.

“Sadly I failed. I tried 11 times more on my own. It wasn’t easy, working full-time and preparing for tests. I also paid for each attempt myself – each exam cost around £160, so I invested a lot of money in trying to progress.

 “I needed to get a Level 7 to pass and always I got around 6.5. I was so close to passing but was doing something wrong.

“Then the CapitalNurse opportunity came up. I was accepted on to the programme and was really happy. John Smith, my tutor, taught me techniques for structuring sentences and using more sophisticated language and he corrected every minor grammar mistake. 

“I attended five two-hour sessions and studied on my own, too. There were 15 of us in a class and the study was enjoyable. John was very helpful and many things he taught us were not taught in English classes back home. He gave clarity and directed us in a way that gave us more chance of success. 

 “When I took the exam last October for the 13th time I was so nervous and when I passed John told me I had made his day!

 “Being a registered nurse will open so many more opportunities for me. I want to encourage others to have faith that there is always a chance. Even though it was very hard for me I still strived to do it.

“With the support of my manager, my operational manager and CapitalNurse I then went on a four-week OSCE preparation course at the North Middlesex Hospital – everyone there was also very supportive and I passed first time in December 2019. 

“And 35 days after passing the OSCE I received my PIN from the NMC. That was a very happy day!

“I love working in the UK and I’m thankful for all the opportunities to work as a nurse or a manager. I am more grateful than I can say for all the support, tuition and encouragement. I now have a much bigger picture for my career.”

Evan's tutor John Smith

John adds: "I was very impressed with Evan's resilience and determination. Most people would have given up but he just kept going, which was admirable. He was a pleasure to teach - totally committed to his own cause, but contributing fully in the lessons and was a great help to the others in the class. He had a 100% attendance rate and was always ready to share his experiences of the IELTS test and his knowledge of English. He was a great inspiration.

“Evan quoted me as saying I had made his day when I received news of his success and that really was no exaggeration! I was so pleased for him and it's great to see people being rewarded for all their hard work." 

The CapitalNurse pilot scheme continues

Further tuition is being given to support the transition of international nurses from other areas of healthcare towards NMC registration by the CapitalNurse NCL Return to Practice & International Nurses Transition Bureau, working with all 10 local trusts as well as primary care nursing. This scheme is supported by Health Education England. 

For more information email: