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Nurses and midwives who want to work in the UK will now be able to take an English language test designed specifically for healthcare professionals.

From 1 November 2017 the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) will formally recognise OET – the Occupational English Test – for overseas-trained nurses and midwives who need to prove their level of English proficiency for registration in the UK.

OET CEO, Sujata Stead explains: “What sets OET apart from other tests is that it is designed for healthcare. We use real communication scenarios, similar to the ones healthcare professionals encounter every day.”

“For example, a nurse’s speaking skills will be assessed via a face-to-face role play using a typical nursing scenario, with a trained interlocutor who plays the part of a patient or carer.”

“In addition, the speaking and writing tests are different for each of the twelve healthcare professions we test so the scenarios for nurses and midwives will be different to the scenarios for physiotherapists.”

OET is run jointly by the UK’s Cambridge Assessment English (part of the University of Cambridge) and Australia’s Box Hill Institute. Already recognised by authorities in Australia, Dubai, New Zealand and Singapore, the well-established test is widely used in the registration of overseas-trained healthcare professionals.

Ma-Annjit Singh, a nurse from the Philippines who took OET for registration in Australia says she felt more confident taking a test using familiar healthcare vocabulary and gained valuable knowledge about her future workplace.

“The scenarios used in OET gave me a glimpse into different ways of communicating so I knew what to expect at work”.

Overseas-trained nurses and midwives who are required to take an English language test to gain registration with the NMC need to achieve Grade B in all four OET subtests: reading, writing, speaking and listening.

OET CEO Sujata Stead concludes: “Regulators and employers can feel confident that healthcare professionals who have achieved the required level in OET for their profession can communicate effectively in the healthcare workplace.”

For more information about the NMC English language test requirements for OET from 1 November, go to:

The Occupational English Test is available every month in over 40 countries. 

Read the OET media release here