The regulator is looking at making three significant changes to how it tests a nurse’s knowledge of English.
The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) is preparing to consult on changes to its English language requirements for internationally trained applicants.
Currently, overseas nurses must either take an approved English language test, hold an NMC approved pre-registration qualification taught and examined in English, or have evidence of practice in a majority English speaking country.
Under the proposals, the NMC is considering changing the minimum English language test scores, if these scores can be combined between tests, and what period applicants should wait before retaking a test.
They also plan to consider if evidence of non-registered practice in English and supported by an employer reference can be accepted as proof of an applicant’s knowledge of English.
Finally, the regulator will consider if a post-graduate non-nursing or midwifery qualification taught and examined in English could be accepted as evidence.
Fair and reliable.
There have been concerns raised about the current approach from various organisations.
The NMC says that effective communication is “essential” to delivering safe care but admits they want to ensure the process is “fair” and “reliable” for everyone.
Matthew McClelland, Executive Director of Strategy and Insight for the NMC, said: “Of all health and care professionals, nurses, midwives, and nursing associates spend the most time with patients and people who use services.
“Effective communication is essential to delivering the safe, effective and kind care that people have a right to expect.
“We’re grateful to everyone who’s already shared their initial views, which have helped shape the options we’re proposing to consult on. We look forward to hearing more from the public, employers and our professionals to make sure our processes are fair and reliable for everyone.”
During the next council meeting on 26 May, the NMC’s governing council will consider the proposals.