The Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI) announced last week that it would immediately apply amendments to its IELTS and OET English language requirements for international nurses and midwives who did not qualify in English.
Following an extensive review, the NMBI’s revised requirements are much more aligned with those required by the NMC in the UK. The following tables, taken from the NMBI’s website, show both the old and the new requirements:
However, there are some differences between the new Irish requirements and those of the UK:
- The results must be achieved in a single sitting, whereas the UK requirements can be achieved across two sittings within a six-month period.
- There is greater flexibility, in that candidates may achieve 6.5 or grade C+ in any one of the four papers other than writing where 6.5 or C+ is the lowest score acceptable, as long as the overall IELTS score is 7.0 and the OET results are 3x B and 1 x C+.
Anyone who has achieved the new requirements in the last two years, so from April 2nd 2018, is now eligible to register.
Perhaps the most significant change is the lowering of the writing requirement to 6.5 from 7.0 in IELTS and from B to C+ in OET. Sheila McClelland, CEO NMBI stated, “We have decreased the writing score by 0.5 and believe that the application of this will not compromise practice. There is evidence in the UK and further afield that our amendments will provide a positive result.”
In our experience of training hundreds of nurses for both OET and IELTS to work in the UK, we agree that this is the right perspective.
“Writing university level essays and letters is not relevant to most nurses’ practice, while a 6.5 or C+ definitely ensures that the language level is appropriate to ensuring safe and effective care.”
Peter Rodway, Director, SLC