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How to Register as a Nurse in Kenya

Nursing is a noble and rewarding profession that requires a high level of dedication, skill and training.

If you are a qualified nurse looking to register in Kenya, it is essential to understand the process to ensure a smooth and successful application.

In this article, WoK will provide a comprehensive guide on how to register as a nurse in Kenya, including the necessary requirements, documents and steps to follow.

Note, before you can be employed as a nurse in Kenya, you need to be registered by the Nursing Council of Kenya (NCK).

The NCK is a constitutional body tasked with ensuring that all practising nurses in Kenya meet certain qualification criteria.

How to register as a nurse in Kenya

With local training

In order to register as a nurse in Kenya with local training, you must;

  1. Successfully undergo an NCK-accredited course.
  2. Sit for the NCK licensure exam.
  3. Satisfy internship requirements.
  4. Apply for a license and certificate of registration.

Undergo an NCK-accredited course

To qualify to be a nurse in Kenya, you have to first be trained. The NCK is mandated to ensure that you undergo appropriate training.

They do this by reviewing the nursing programs offered by different institutions and approving them if they meet the standards of quality.

It is your responsibility as a student to ensure that you undertake a nursing course that has been approved by the NCK.

The NCK maintains a list of accredited nursing programs, which any member of the public can access.

Complete NCK licensure exam

After you have successfully undertaken your nursing course, you have two things to worry about; your internship and your licensure exam.

Degree students can do their internship either before or after they sit for the licensure exam.

Diploma and certificate students, for example those in KMTC, usually sit for their licensure exams after their final course exams.

Once they pass the final qualifying exam (FQE), they receive a message from the NCK with a link to register for the NCK licensure exam.

You are allowed a maximum of 4 resits.

Satisfy internship requirements

The NCK states that students should complete their internship after passing the licensure exams. It also gives the following internship requirements for different situations.

Apply for a license and certificate of registration

After you have undertaken an NCK-accredited nursing course, passed the NCK licensure exam, and satisfied internship requirements, you can apply to be a registered nurse in Kenya.

To apply, you need your NCK licensure exam results slip. You also need to pay for the license and for registration.

The licensing fee is Ksh 1,000.

If your application is approved, you should expect instant licensure. The NCK will issue you with a certificate of registration after 2 weeks.

As a matter of policy, you are required to physically present yourself to NCK offices to collect the certificate. During the visit, you will be required to provide proof of identification.

With foreign training

If you are a nurse with foreign training, you can still apply for registration and licensing in Kenya.

In order to register as a nurse in Kenya with local training, you must;

  1. Make a Trained Outside Kenya (TOK) application to the NCK.
  2. Apply and sit for the NCK licensure exam.
  3. Undergo 12 – 24 weeks of clinical orientation.
  4. Apply for registration and licensure.

Make a Trained Outside Kenya (TOK) application to the NCK

The first thing you need to do is officially notify the NCK of your intent to be registered as a nurse who was trained outside Kenya.

Once you are in contact with them, they will ask you for documentation.

NCK needs to ascertain;

  • That you met the minimum NCK entry criteria for the nursing course you undertook abroad
  • That you completed the nursing/midwifery program you enrolled in abroad
  • That you were registered and licensed in the foreign country

The NCK will ask you for the original license and registration certificate and proceed to verify them with the relevant institution in the country of training.

Apply and sit for the NCK licensure exam

Once the NCK has made all the necessary verifications with your country of training and determined that you are a properly trained nurse, you will be cleared to sit for the NCK licensure exam.

Undergo clinical orientation

Passing the licensure exam proves that you meet the minimum knowledge requirements to be a nurse in Kenya.

However, you still need to be familiarized with the standard nursing procedures in Kenya.

This is equivalent to the internship that Kenyan-trained nurses have to go through to be certified.

After doing 12 – 24 weeks of internship successfully, you can now be licensed.

Apply for registration and licensure

You can now make an official application to be a registered nurse in Kenya.

The NCK will verify that you have successfully undertaken every necessary step.

You will be required to pay a licensing fee of Ksh 2,000 if you are Kenyan and $50 if you are not Kenyan.