International opportunities for Nurses

Nursing is a noble and virtuous occupation. It is often both personally and financially rewarding career. Nursing is an ideal work for those who want to serve humanity.

Apart, from these innumerable openings among the domestic sectors, nurses who earn international nursing certifications and fulfill the prescribed immigration criteria relocate to greener pastures abroad.

Worldwide there is a growing shortage of nurses. The number of professional nurses entering into the job market is falling far short of the numbers needed to replace an ageing nursing workforce, those emigrating to more inviting job markets, and early retirement from professional nursing system. There is a high requirement for highly trained nurses for Australia, Canada, the UK, European countries and the USA. As a matter of fact, India has risen as the highest provider of nurses to foreign countries.

Global shortage of Nurses :

The global shortage of nurses has been acknowledged through multidisciplinary Global Advisory Team of the nation Health Organization. The deficit is effected by an increased need for nurses, while fewer people are taking nursing as a job and of course the current nurses worldwide are aging.

Canada :

Canada is facing serious shortage of registered nurses that by all accounts proliferates worse in a long time to approach. A nationwide study, published by the Canadian Nurses Association, foretells a shortage in Canada (except Quebec) of between 59000 and 113000. Quebec alone has a shortage of 11000 nurses by 2015.

The following types of nurses are in high demand :

  • Registered nurse
  • Intensive care nurse
  • Geriatric nurse
  • Nurse technician
  • Nurse educator
  • Recovery room nurse


The population of USA is projected to increase a minimum of 18% in the 20 years, while the population of those over 65 years of age is expected to further increase three times that rate.[7] The present shortfall of nurses is projected at 800,000 by the year 2020. There is always projected to get a nursing shortage that is expected to intensify as baby boomers age and the requirement for health care grow. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Employment Projections 2010-2020 released in February 2012, the Registered Nursing workforce would be the top occupation in relation to job growth through 2020. It is often expected where the number of employed nurses becomes from 2.74 million in 2010 to 3.45 million by 2020.

Australia :

Australia faces the possibility of rising shortfall of qualified nurses by 2025, according to a report selected for state and federal authorities. The national training plan initiated by Health Workforce Australia foretells a workforce gap by 2025 of between 80,000 - 147,000 nurses. The National Nursing Research Unit (NNRU) at King's College London has predicted the UK may require to re-establish overseas recruitment to fulfil the likely rise in requirement for nurses caused due to an ageing population.

Europe is facing severe shortfall of nurses. This is mainly because of increase of aging population and increase of aging "nurses." By 2030, it is predicted that 25% of the European population will be above 65. In some countries like the UK and Italy, the 'grey-ing' of the community is already impacting on nursing. The majority of professional nurses are now in the middle age. OECD (The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) reports that a substantial proportion of the nursing workforce in Belgium, France, Austria, Germany, the Netherlands and Italy are over 45.

How to Become an International Nurse

If a professional nurse wants to work in a foreign country, it is mandatory to register with the nursing council of that country. The procedure differs from country to country and nursing council to nursing council. To know about this you need to check up with the nursing council concerned. If your level of education is below the standard, the nursing council may ask you to attend additional training (e.g., ONP (in the UK), Bridging Programme (in Australia), CAP (in the New Zealand), etc. or they may ask you to qualify some licensing test /exam, e.g., in the USA you must clear CGFNS/NCLEX-RN, in Canada you must clear CRNE, etc. Apart from the above, one must be proficient in English language. The commonly accepted test for this is IELTS and is the world's most popular English language test for higher education and immigration.

International English Language Testing System (IELTS), is an internationally accepted assessment test of English language proficiency. It is jointly conducted by the British Council, University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations and the IDP Education.

There are two types of the IELTS, the General version and the Academic version :

The Academic test is for those who want to enroll in universities and colleges and for professionals such as medical doctors and nurses who want to study or practice inside an English-speaking country.

The General Training Version is for individuals preparing to undertake non-academic training or to gain professional experience, as well as immigration purposes.

IELTS is accepted by majority of British, Australian, Canadian, Irish, New Zealand and South African academic institutions, over 3,000 educational institutions in the USA and various professional bodies. Additionally it is a necessary for immigration to Canada, Australia andNew Zealand.

No minimum score is essential to qualify the test. An IELTS score card or Test Report is issued for all candidates with a score from 1 (no knowledge) to 9 (expert user) and each institution sets a definite threshold. Institutions are advised to never consider valid a report older than years, unless individual proves that they usually have worked to maintain his level.

IELTS characteristics
The IELTS incorporates Below Are Features:
Inorder to lower linguistic bias, many different accents and writing styles are presented in the test In the IELTS test, the ability towards listening, reading, writing and speaking abilities in English is assessed Band score is used for each language sub-skill (Listening, Reading, Speaking and Writing). The band scale ranges from 0 ("did not attempt the test") To 9 ("Expert User").

The speaking module is a key element In IELTS. It is conducted in over a one-to-one interview with an examiner. The examiner assesses the candidate whereas or she is speaking, But the speaking session is additionally recorded for monitoring as well as re-marking for instances when in an appeal with respect to the score given.

IELTS test structure

In the IELTS test, all candidates must perform 4 Modules - Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. After the test, they will get a Test Report Form (TRF) with the band score in each module. Listening and Speaking Modules are common for all candidates, whereas the Reading and Writing Modules differ based on if they are taking the Academic or General Training variant of the Test.


The module contains four parts of increasing complexity. Each part, which can be either a monologue or dialogue, starts with a brief introduction telling the candidates about the situation and the speakers. The first three sections have a break in the middle allowing candidates to take a look at the remaining questions.


In the academic module, the reading test comprises three sections, with 3 texts usually leading to 13 or 14 questions to obtain a total of 40 questions overall. The General test also includes 3 sections. However, the texts are shorter.


In the Academic module, there are two assignments: in Task 1 candidates describe a diagram, graph, process or chart, also in Task 2 they respond to an argument. In the General Training module, there also are two tasks: in Task 1 candidates compose a letter or explain a scenario, along with Task 2 they write an essay.


The speaking test consists of three sections. The first section will be an interview in which candidates will be asked about their personal traits, the reason for taking IELTS test and other general topics such as clothing, free time, computers and the interest or family. During the 2nd section candidates are asked about the subject and asked to talk about a given topic. The third section involves a discussion and there will be questions pertaining to the theme that they have already spoken about in part 2. This last section is known to be abstract and is usually considered the more difficult.


The total duration of the test is about 2 hours and 45 minutes for Listening, Reading and Writing modules.
Listening : 40 minutes - 30 minutes an audio will be playing centrally and additon 10 minutes will be given for transferring answers onto the answer sheet.
Reading : 60 minutes.
Writing : 60 minutes.
Speaking : 11-14 minutes.
The Listening, Reading and Writing sessions (always in that order) are done with no break in between in a single day. However the Speaking Module is done in another day, as per the availability of the test centre, within a period a week before or after the other Modules.


The tests are designed to cover the full range of ability from non-user to expert user.

Band scale

IELTS score is a 9-band scale, with each band corresponding to a specified competence in English language. Overall Band Score is reported to the nearest half band.

If the average of all the four modules ends in 0.25, it is rounded up to the next "half" band, and if it ends in 0.75, it is rounded up to the next whole band.

The nine bands are described as follows :

9 Expert User Has full operational command of the language: appropriate, accurate and fluent with complete understanding.
8 Very Good User Has full operational command of the language with only occasional unsystematic inaccuracies and inappropriacies. Misunderstandings may occur in unfamiliar situations. Handles complex detailed argumentation well.
7 Good User Has operational command of the language, though with occasional inaccuracies, inappropriateness and misunderstandings in some situations. Generally handles complex language well and understands detailed reasoning.
6 Competent User Has generally effective command of the language despite some inaccuracies, inappropriacies and misunderstandings. Can use and understand fairly complex language, particularly in familiar situations.
5 Modest user Has partial command of the language, coping with overall meaning in most situations, though is likely to make many mistakes. Should be able to handle basic communication in own field.
4 Limited User Basic competence is limited to familiar situations. Has frequent problems in using complex language.
3 Extremely Limited User Conveys and understands only general meaning in very familiar situations.
2 Intermittent User No real communication is possible except for the most basic information using isolated words or short formulae in familiar situations and to meet immediate needs.
1 Non User Essentially has no ability to use the language beyond possibly a few isolated words.
0 Did not attempt the test No assessable information provided at all.

Source : 3 July 2012

Licensing Exams for Nurses :

HAAD (Abu Dhabi)

Test Fees - $95
Test Centres - Bangalore, Chennai
The Health Authority of Abu Dhabi (HAAD) is accountable for regulating the practice of nursing in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. A system of licensing and examination is established to ensure nurses are secure to practice within the guidelines as set by the HAAD Policy and Regulation Directorate. The reasoning behind the Scopes of Practice to suit Registered Nurse (RN) and the Practical Nurse (PN), are offer competency frameworks to support "professional practice", facilitate "professional accountability" and support HAAD's regulatory licensing processes.

The IELTS Academy offers a comprehensive training programme to help you pass the HAAD Exam. Our 45 days regular program covers most of the systems in a well structured manner.

Prometric Exam (Saudi Arabia)

The Saudi Council of Examination requires all foreign nurses to pass an online test conducted by the Prometric Examination.
In the test, the nurses are given 2 hours to finish 70 questions in multiple choice formats. It is a computer-based test and the outcome of the examination is mad available immediately after the exam.
For nursing technicians, the passing score is 45% while, for nurse specialists, it is 50%. The exam for nursing tech consists of Nursing Fundamentals (28%), Medical (23%), Surgical (20%), Pediatric (16%) and Community (13%).
The test for nurse specialist is made of of Assessment - 10%, Nursing Problem - 6%, Planning - 20%, Implementation - 50%, Evaluation - 14%
To book a prometric exam, one needs to visit the URL: One can either select "Nurse Technician" or "Nurse Specialist".

SCH - Supreme Council of Health Qatar Testing

The SCH has partnered with Prometric MENA to provide computer based medical licensing examinations to assess the competency of health practitioners seeking registration and licensure in the State of Qatar. The candidates will be able to attend for the test at any of Prometric's 10000 test centres distributed in 164 countries around the world.
Details about the eligibility for licensure can be found under "Scopes of Practice" in the Policy and Procedure section of Supreme Council's website.

Dubai Health Authority - DHA

Dubai Health Authority (DHA) conducts licensing exam for Healthcare Professionals with appropriate skills and qualifications to guarantee the high quality of health care services and the safety of the population in the Emirate of Dubai. DHA issues professional license exam for the following professionals :

  • Registered Nurse
  • Registered Midwife
  • Assistant Nurse

Like NCLEX and CRNE, DHA exam is also a computer-based one. There are no interviews. The examination consists of different aspects of the nursing profession such as Fundamentals of Nursing, Medical & Surgical, OBG, Oncology and Pharmacology.

For details about registration process please visit :

Canadian Registered Nurses Exam (Canada) - CRNE

The exam fee is $594.84 (HST included).
The format is multiple-choice questions only.
Examination results are reported as "Pass" or "Fail".
Exam length and format
The CRNE comprises approximately 200 multiple-choice questions.
Question Presentation
Some questions on the CRNE are presented as independent questions and some are presented within cases. Independent questions retain the information required to answer the questions, while case-based questions involve few three to five questions connected with short health-care scenario.
What does the CRNE test?
The CRNE tests 148 competencies in the following four broad categories :
Professional Practice
Nurse-Client Partnership
Health and Wellness
Changes in Health


Test Centres - Bangalore, Chennai
Test Fees - $ 200

The NCLEX is a totally computer based test. There is going to be a tutorial at the start of the examination which will instruct you toward the using of the mouse and how to record an answer. An on-screen calculator is available during the examination. NCLEX questions are multiple-choice, but there are other formats, as well.
All questions are marked as either right or wrong. There is no "partial credit."
The NCLEX is designed to test your knowledge, skills and competencies required for the safe and effective practice of nursing at the entry level. There can be from about 75 to 265 items. Out of this, 15 are pretest items that are not scored. Regardless of the multitude of items asked, the time is limited to six hours.
The NCLEX-PN examination can be between 85 to 205 items. Out of these items, 25 are "pre-test" items that not scored. The time limit for this examination is five hours.


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