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It’s no secret that New Zealand needs new nurses and midwives to meet current and future population challenges. Not only is the population expected to grow to 5.8 million by 2038, Stats NZ reports the number of people aged 65 and over has doubled since 1988.

It’s why both aged care nursing and midwifery are on the government’s immediate skill-shortage list. In fact, the government reports that the healthcare sector needs 25,000 more nurses by 2030 to meet the country’s healthcare needs.

While there will be more and more nursing students moving into the sector, many of these positions will need to be filled by internationally trained nurses. Whether from the Philippines, India, the Middle East or Australia, international nurses are in demand.

However, working and living in New Zealand is not just economic, it also provides people with a life-changing opportunity. New arrivals can access an excellent public healthcare service and a well-funded school system – not to mention that pristine environment.

However, before any of that, prospective workers may need to take an English language test.

Choosing the right language test

If you’re involved in the healthcare industry, you will understand it’s a high-stakes sector where communication is essential.

Whether it’s encouraging a patient to follow through on medical recommendations or working with other healthcare staff during a client handover, communicating with others is central to all nursing roles and critical to ensuring patient safety and quality care.

It’s one of the reasons the New Zealand government asks some international students to take an English language test. Yet, as healthcare is a specialist industry, it would make sense to take an English language test made for healthcare professionals.

Why do nurses choose OET?

OET is an English language test specifically designed for healthcare professionals. With nearly 30 years of pedigree, the test is recognised by healthcare boards and councils in New Zealand, the UK, Ireland, Australia, Dubai, Singapore and several other countries.

But what is it that encourages nurses to take OET? Many have said they felt more confidence taking a test that uses real-world healthcare scenarios to test English skills.

“OET has given me the confidence to face scenarios when they occur in reality and helped me be more focused at work and better manage my time,” said Nurse Helen Joseph.

When preparing for OET, nursing candidates gain more than their grades at the end of the test – the whole process builds their skills in and out of the workplace.

A participant taking the OET speaking test, for instance, will role-play as a nurse, while the tester might take the position of a patient or client. The role-plays are based on standard workplace situations that reflect real working experiences.

Lovely Subeldia, a nurse from the Philippines, said that it helped her become a better, more effective nurse, while also building her confidence working with patients.

“OET will not only improve someone’s language ability but also enhance the skills, knowledge and attitude needed to be a better health-care provider,” she said.

As New Zealand continues to search for nurses, taking an English language test designed specifically for healthcare professionals just makes sense.

This article was supplied by OET.


  1. Hello,

    I am a Canadian RN working on applying for a Skilled Migrant Visa as my working holiday visa has expired since unexpectedly leaving NZ previously. I am looking for advice on how to successfully obtain a job offer and visa, while applying overseas.

    Any information about nursing job prospects and the visa process thereafter, will surely be of assistance.

    Thank you in advance for your help.

  2. Hello,
    This is great information to hear but I am applying for my nursing visa for New Zealand as I see a boom in this industry back when this article was posted and after a complete success of 1.5 year I finally managed to get a migrant visa to New Zealand and now serving the nation with pride. Thank you for the support

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