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Respecting immigrant nurses' skills.

I read with considerable interest the discussion about the relevancy of various English language testing systems for immigrant nurses. A couple of years ago, at the time the United Kingdom was implementing its chosen English language system, I decided I would Like to go back to the land of my birth for an extended holiday with my husband and nurse there to help pay for it. I was going to be required to sit the test too.

What made this so ridiculous is that I was English-born, of Anglo-Saxon stock; was educated there at a technical high school until 17; had entered a pre-nursing course at one stage; had some low-level tertiary education; my children were born there; I had been a laboratory technician in both private and civil service jobs, and left to begin my migratory activities when I was 29.

In my most settled period in Australia, I completed my registered nurse training at the Royal Adelaide Hospital and registered psychiatric training at Hillcrest Hospital; had been an associate member of the Royal Australian College of Nursing and other professional bodies; had completed a year at Adelaide University (philosophy), and my BN at Deakin University in Geelong. All of this held no sway with the persons I contacted when I protested about having to take an English Language examination.

It would be a very sad day if commonsense does not prevail in this question of English language skills. Of course nurses need to be able to communicate effectively, but if immigrant nurses have got the intelligence and ability to do the work they do and have done, often to a very high level, then they must not be treated in a way that diminishes that inherent value. It does not take long to gain knowledge of both colloquial and more formal Language. Even different names for drugs can be overcome if the generic name is adhered to internationally. We cannot afford to lose immigrant nurses' skills.

Kate Sanford, RN (retired), BN, Oamaru
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Author:Sanford, Kate
Publication:Kai Tiaki: Nursing New Zealand
Article Type:Letter to the editor
Date:Jul 1, 2008
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