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A way out of pre-registration limbo?

23 June 2022
6 min read
Volume 31 · Issue 12

Against the backdrop of the Nursing and Midwifery Council's (NMC) recent approval for a public consultation on English language requirements for overseas-trained nurses (McClelland, 2022), this article examines the assumptions behind using language tests to establish proficiency for regulatory purposes.

The NMC stipulates that any overseas-trained nurse must not pose an unnecessary threat to patient safety due to language insufficiency and any ease in the language requirements should be met with caution. Therefore, it is prudent to examine whether or not the tests used are counter-intuitive to their purpose and whether lowering of test scores would lower the NMC regulatory standards.

Before the introduction of language tests in 2005, overseas nurses had to undergo an adaptation programme. However, there was a scarcity of NHS-based adaptation places and around 37 000 overseas educated nurses in the UK, at that time, were unable to start work. Rodgers et al (2014), among others, raised concerns and requested help for overseas nurses unable to obtain supervised adaptation placements and were working as healthcare assistants (HCAs).

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