English Language Proficiency Policy Updated to Include Occupational English Test (OET)

nurse with patient
June 11, 2024

Communicating effectively in English or French is critical to providing safe nursing practice in Canada. Language tests are one method to assess language proficiency.

A key activity for a language proficiency test to be accepted is standard-setting. Standard-setting procedures involve a scientific methodology and subject-matter experts’ consensus to establish and justify passing scores and to support the policy issue of how good a performance must be to be considered good enough. These cut-scores are used to determine if candidates have achieved the language proficiency standard required for practicing as a nurse at the entry-level.

In March 2024, the Canadian Nurse Regulators Collaborative and IntelliEval held an independent standard-setting workshop involving 15 panelists representing the nursing profession, educators and regulators across Canada to complete the standard-setting scores for the Occupational English Test (OET). The OET is an English language test for specific occupational purposes designed to assess the English language proficiency of foreign-trained healthcare professionals seeking to register and practice in an English-speaking environment. There was consensus on the cut scores, and they are available to view here.

NSCN has updated our policy to include the OET as a way for applicants to demonstrate their English language proficiency. If you are an internationally educated nurse currently in the application process for registration and licensure in Nova Scotia and feel that the new cut scores for the OET will change how you meet the English language proficiency requirement, please reach out to our Registration Services team at registration@nscn.ca to discuss your application.

Share this with friends, colleagues and team members: