ONEROUS ENGLISH LANGUAGE STANDARDS PREVENTING JOB READY NURSES FROM STARTING WORK.

ONEROUS ENGLISH LANGUAGE STANDARDS PREVENTING JOB READY NURSES FROM STARTING WORK.

0 have signed. Let’s get to 500!
At 500 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!
Aon Whelan started this petition to Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency and

Migrant qualified nurses and migrants who have studied and completed their nursing degrees or diplomas in an Australian university or college are required to achieve an individual score of 7/9 in Academic International Language Testing system (IELTS) to gain registration to work in Australia with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA). The requirements are based on four modules: Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. Individual scores of 7 need to be achieved in each module (with no category being under 6.5) in a single or double sitting. This is considered really difficult to achieve and unnecessary for the needs of the profession.

It is believed, anecdotally and from feedback on the ground the language requirement is a significant barrier to registering with AHPRA.

There is a documented shortage of nurses in Australia, (Health Workforce Australia 2014: Australia’s Future Health Workforce – Nurses Detailed). This report suggests that demand will exceed supply by between 85,000 – 123,000 by 2025-2030 respectively. Similar to the United Kingdom, Australia, also relies on the recruitment of a range of health professionals from overseas. According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, approximately 25% of medical practitioners and 15% of nurses who are currently practising in Australia have completed their training overseas. (HWA, HW2025 Vol 1 p24).

The United Kingdom Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) recent review of registration standards states that the IELTS does not reflect mastery of language and other approaches should be considered. The Academic IELTS requirement is not a good reflection of the English needed to practice as a nurse. A high level of Oxford grammar is not necessarily what will best equip nurses working in a variety of rural regional community settings, or working with the elderly in residential aged care and nursing homes. The broad variety of accents found in multi-cultural Australia, colloquialisms, and dealing with various phone situations would be more relevant than a university lecturer’s standard of English. The IELTS general training module would be a better fit for nurses than the Academic module (Change.org.uk 2014-2019).

The cost of the IELTS test is not insignificant at approximately $345 a time. Anecdotal evidence shows some nurses take the exams more than 9 times or over (cost not including the potential extra cost of attending language courses). It is also evidenced that many native English speakers will struggle to score 7/9 in the IELTS. (Australian National Health Practitioner Ombudsman and Privacy Commissioner – Submission on the English Language Registration Standard as it applies to Nurses and Midwives 2013). With the proliferation in Australia of private education institutions offering courses in how to pass the test, there is concern that the test has become a money-making exercise.

There is no question of the importance of ensuring that registering nurses have sufficient proficiency in English to practice the nursing profession safely and competently, however in light of the of facts raised and the current global health crisis requiring all hands-on deck, the following suggestions are petitioned:

1. Reducing the Academic IELTS score for AHPRA registration (ideally to 6.5 with no categories under 6.0) – equates to the entry requirement to a Bachelor University Degree Course.

2. Provision of exclusion for nurses who have completed a degree or diploma from an Australian University or College.

3. Change the Academic IELTS to General IELTS for AHPRA registration.

0 have signed. Let’s get to 500!
At 500 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!