When the new Australian national registration system for nurses started in July, the English language requirements for new registrations were tightened. There has been some back and forth regarding overseas nurses from other English-speaking countries, but I think at the moment the registration board requires you to sit an English test if you did your secondary (high school) education in a non-English speaking country. This is not just for overseas-trained nurses, it includes new grads from Australian universities.
I understand the reasoning behind having strict language requirements for health professionals. I'm just somewhat confused about the need to have an English test at the exit point of an education, when international nursing students already have to sit such a test to be accepted into any Australian university.
What does it say about the quality of our universities when the registration board doesn't trust successful graduates to have a working knowledge of English? Surely you cannot possibly pass all your exams, assignments, and clinical placements without being able to communicate well?
I'm a permanent resident and I have lived in Australia for the best part of a decade. My grad entry nursing degree is my third degree at an Australian university. I have a Journalism degree and an International Relations Masters degree. I work for the government when I'm not at uni, where I use English at an advanced working level both in written and spoken form. My secondary education, however, was in a non-English speaking country.
Therefore, before I graduate next year, I have to pay $350 to sit an English test. I'm not too worried about the test, but as a student I have better things to spend my money on. So I'll have a bit of a whinge about it.
Is it just my petulance about having to pay for this test that renders me unable to see the logic of forcing new grads from Australian universities to prove their competence in English?
Sep 24, '10
by ceridwyn Guide
I can understand your frustration, previous uni degrees surely can count for secondary education in english, but the 7 in IELTS is not new from AHRPA all the state nursing councils had the July before now insisted on 7 IELTS but the universities kept taking students with less. Hence the problem....
It has and still is a big problem that many nurses that come to this country may understand and write english, but cannot speak it....this has caused many drug errors, reporting of patients conditions and ended up to be deprimental to many Australians health. (Not saying this is not done by Australian speaking nurses too, but this has been identified as of much concern by nurses of ESL) So therefore across the board they have insisted on an IELTS of 7.
Believe me you can do a whole Australian nursing/teaching degree with very poor speaking english skills in the past, quite amazing and overseas students can apply for consideration if english is their second language to get them a pass, because of money considerations.
An overseas nurse, depending on their country, can do a short course in 8- 12 weeks, if they did not insist on communicative english as well (IELTS at 7 one sitting) this is a very short time to acquire good english skills, not like a full degree. Unfortunately, you have been caught up in (what we say) politics gone mad....sorry for the inconvience. Maybe with your advisory job with the government can get through to the government department involved with AHPRA h and you can remedy your situation.
ps. I do know some law, journalism and accounting degrees only ask 6 in IELTS.
pss sure you want to contiue nursing? I just do not know how happy you would be in this occupation either? there is some crappy jobs we have to do.
Last edit by ceridwyn on Sep 24, '10
Sep 28, '10
by ceridwyn Guide
There are so many what if and what fors...students that have entered nursing this way or that way, studied english year here or there.....it would take forever to make some decisions as it would come down to splitting hairs.
If they (AHPRA) had to employ someone just to assess each individual who is exempt and who is not compared to all the criteria that would take months to just to give guidance about english requirement, for just some of the scenio's for overseas, immigrant students and nurses, our annual fees will go up even more making them extremely high...
Have to go out on a limb for this one.....I agree with AHPRA straight across the board as does the United Kingdom for Australian nurses must pass the IeltS to go there when all our lives we have only spoken english.....welll orstraaliian english anyway.
PS You have not been in an acute situtation as yet needing information quickly from someone that you cannot understand. Defective communication has gone on for many years between ESL nurses and english speaking and now this will put everyone on an even par.
As I said in an earlier post, you can go through a university degree and have exceptable writing and comprehension skills, but poor speaking, this is the problem most of the time.....they get by with their clincials because mentors are told if they complain of their students poor english, the rac.....ts.....word becomes an issue and no one wants to be labelled that because you could loose your job.
I do not think there is a shortage of nurses, nurses with specialities and experience, yes.
Last edit by ceridwyn on Sep 28, '10