NMC proposes changes to English language test
Proposed change to IELTS requirement to be considered by NMC’s Council next week
The NMC UK has agreed to consider the proposal and to accept a level of 6.5 in writing and level 7 in other modules with an overall band of 7 in IELTS academic version. However, the council will consider this proposal in its meeting on 28th of November 2018. This change would be effective from the first day of January 2019 and would also serve as a great relief to the overseas nursing community aspiring to work and settle in the UK.
The Nursing Midwifery Council(NMC) UK is on consultation with stakeholders seems in agreement to the fact that a lot of nurses are just missing out to secure Band 7 in IELTS even after possessing remarkable communication level.This proposed change is one of a number of improvements the NMC is making to its overseas processes, as part of its extensive review of international nurses registration.Previously, the NMC had bowed to similar pressure and, since this time last year, allowed the Occupational English Test(OET)to start being used as an alternative to IELTS.
Overseas nurses started working in the UK from 2001 when there were no conditions on language needs in place and in the later stage; suddenly, the NMC UK implemented a language competency benchmark based on the Academic module of IELTS. An individual has to secure a band 7 in all the four modules; Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking (with none of them below 6.5) to qualify the need. Although good communication between the nurses / midwives and the patients is the primary need to ensure the patient safety, NMC UK’s emphasis on mastery of the language through IELTS benchmark was time and again pointed by many experts, as it was clearly considered very difficult for even a native English speaking individual.
On an average, the candidates have to prepare and attempt multiple times to achieve this level which, not only adds financial burden to the individual but also a deep psychological agony.
It is noteworthy, that the proposed change would be one among the number of improvements the council is planning to make. This move of the NMC UK has been welcomed by various other bodies associated with the NMC in the UK like the Health Education England and National Health Service Trust. It is specific that this change would be only for IELTS scores and not for OET which might get the consideration of the NMC UK in the future.
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