UK Nurse English Language Requirements

UK Nurse English Language Requirements

Home » Archives for November 2019
Landing a job as a nurse in the UK brings many advantages and plenty of opportunities. If you are a nurse who wants to come to work in this country, however, you’ll need to meet the basic nurse english language requirements.

Here we take a look at what international nurses need in order to demonstrate they can communicate effectively in a UK healthcare environment and satisfy the rules of the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).

Registering with the NMC

Any UK nurse that is in current practice needs to be registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council. For international nurses whose first language isn’t english, that process includes demonstrating the necessary standard of communication. This can be done by providing the following evidence:

  • The NMC accepts successful completion of an english language test such as the IELTS or OET (see below).
  • You will also be accepted if you are a pre-registration nurse who undertook their training and successfully achieved their qualifications in a course that was taught in english.
  • If you have practised nursing in an english speaking country for at least one year you will also qualify for registration.

Competency in english means you should include four components: writing, listening, reading and speaking.

What Are IELTS and OET?

The International English Language Testing Scheme or IELTS requires you to achieve a set score for the four components of communication.

  • First, you need to achieve an overall score of 7.
  • Second, you need a score of 7 in the listening, reading, and speaking sections but can pass with a 6.5 in writing as long as your overall score is still 7.

There are IELTS testing centres in over 140 countries around the world, including the UK. Check here to find the one nearest you.

The Occupational English Test or OET assesses language communication skills for nursing and other healthcare professionals. Those taking the test need to achieve a minimum of B in reading, writing, listening and speaking.

The OET is less prevalent around the world compared to the IELTS. There are around 130 testing venues in 40 different countries. Find out more here.

For both tests, there is the opportunity to combine results if you take more than one sitting. You can find out more details here.

Why is an English Qualification Necessary?

Nurses and other healthcare professionals provide an important service in the UK and individuals are responsible for the safety and wellbeing of the people in their care. This also means you need to be able to communicate effectively. It’s also a prerequisite of being accepted onto the NMC register which is a requirement for all nursing and midwifery staff who are in current practice.

Passing an english exam or meeting any of the other requirements of the NMC is not the end of things for a nurse in the UK. It’s important to make sure that your level of english is suitable for operating in this country. If the NMC receive concerns that your communication is not up to standard, even though you may have passed the OET or IELTS, they may decide to review your fitness to practice which could include removing your registration.


Go Nurse is The Stress Free Nursing Agency for London nurses. Our nurses accept shifts, update availability, see upcoming shifts and find shift locations simply via our easy to use mobile phone app! Is it time you made a change? Register online today for nursing shifts across London.



5 Nursing Expectations vs Reality

5 Nursing Expectations vs Reality

Home » Archives for November 2019
There’s no doubt that nursing is a tough, demanding but rewarding job. It’s often portrayed as a vocation where you care for patients who are friendly and thankful, and healthcare professionals come together in a supportive environment.

While this is not entirely untrue, there is often quite a lot more to it as most experienced nurses will tell you. There’s no doubt that many young nurses go into the profession with rose tinted glasses. What were your nursing expectations when you first started in your role?

Well here is a look at a few examples of what you can expect from a career in nursing and how this actually compares to reality.

1. Training Will Never Truly Prepare You

No matter how much training or experience you have, you can never completely be prepared for every situation that a career in nursing will present you.

The old cliché that each day is different really does apply here. While ever day is totally unpredictable, this is also something makes the profession worthwhile and exciting. Prepare for tough days as well as great ones!

2. Your Shift Will Seldom Run on Time

Nursing is definitely not a 9 to 5 profession. While many modern care establishments are a lot better at managing the time of their employees than they used to be, the nature of the profession naturally means you will need to be totally flexible.

Staff shortages, unexpected events and having to complete mounting paperwork can all combine to ensure that you will probably rarely finish your shift on time!

3. Don’t Expect Thanks

You will be caring for other people at some of the most vulnerable times in their lives, however you will not always receive a sincere thank you.

Nurses often work under immense pressure and feeling valued is important in any job. Do not expect that patients are going to laud your nursing skills and express their appreciation for the help you have given them.

For most nurses, of course, a thank you isn’t as important as delivering high-quality care. But it’s nice to fell valued all the same!

4. Nurse/Patient Ratios are Not Always Balanced

Nurse understaffing is a well documented problem in the UK. The truth is that you will sometimes be placed in situations where there are staff shortages and you will have to cope, even when this is potentially dangerous to those in your care.

Lack of enough staff, or lack of appropriately qualified staff, is one of the big bugbears that qualified nurses have. If you are a young nurse, it’s something that you will need to be aware of and you will need to manage this situation to the best of your ability.

5. You Don’t Always Get A Break

There are many factors that can creep into the nursing day that can mean it isn’t always possible to take your whole break, or take your beak at all. Normally, the first thing that may be sacrificed is your coffee or tea break.

This is something that many experienced nurses accept but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t look to take a break to clear your mind and recharge your batteries when you can. Being overtired and overworked can, of course, lead to mistakes as well as burnout.

Despite these factors, nursing is an incredibly rewarding profession with a lot to offer. The role does come with plenty of challenges however, and you should have a realistic understanding of what these are.


Go Nurse is The Stress Free Nursing Agency for London nurses. Our nurses accept shifts, update availability, see upcoming shifts and find shift locations simply via our easy to use mobile phone app! Is it time you made a change? Register online today for nursing shifts across London.