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Training day highlights relevance of OET

A team of specialists involved in the recruitment and training of doctors and nurses in the UK will help to ensure the continuing relevance of the Occupational English Test (OET), a unique test of English for healthcare professionals. This group of subject-matter experts will complement the work of a team already working in Australia.

OET CEO Sujata Stead explained:  “As OET is an English language test specifically designed for healthcare professionals, it is imperative for our work that it is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure the questions are as relevant as possible for candidates. With the recent recognition in the UK, we wanted to make sure we had UK healthcare professionals reviewing the test to make sure it was suitable for test takers irrespective of their background or the country in which they are seeking employment. The test is unique in this regard, given that it is reviewed by English language experts as well as subject-matter experts to make sure it is fit-for purpose”.

The subject-matter experts recently came together for a training day at the Royal College of Nursing in London. They were given a comprehensive overview of the format and content of the test by experts from Cambridge Assessment English, which co-owns OET with Boxhill Language Assessment in Melbourne, Australia.

Dr Jonathan Silverman, an expert in clinical communication skills who has been involved in the recent revisions to the OET test specification, spoke about the importance of communication in the healthcare context. He provided some technical advice on vetting the content of the exam so it includes the range of clinical contexts healthcare professionals may face when working in the UK.

Kate Knight and Hayley Knickenberg, who lead on the professional development of overseas nurses at Worcestershire Acute Hospital, said: “the day really highlighted the relevance of OET for overseas nurses attaining UK registration and it was interesting to see how it can benefit their day-to-day work”.

Dr Louise Lemonie from the Refugee Council works with refugee medical professionals to help them through the process of gaining their General Medical Council registration. The Council supports them with English language tests, clinical exams and clinical attachments, so they can find jobs in the NHS. Louise commented that: “OET is great and exactly what is needed for medical professionals. Candidates feel comfortable with the test as it is medically based and prepares them for the next stages of their application”.

Janet Newton, Practice Education Facilitator at Mid-Cheshire NHS Foundation Trust remarked: “The day enabled us to gain invaluable insight into the components of the OET test in greater detail to assess the relevance to current nursing practice and to give us good preparation for assessing future examination materials.  It was also a great arena for networking with other professionals involved in the process and with OET testing in other parts of the country”.



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