GSE Job Skills: Spotlight on Nursing

gse job skills nursing pearson english

Explore how the Global Scale of English (GSE) learning objectives can help you align your English course with students’ needs, so they can develop the skills required to get the position they want in a competitive job market.

With clearly researched and defined skills gaps across English speaking countries, such as Australia, United Kingdom and the USA, and increasing competitiveness for job vacancies around the world, it’s more important than ever to ensure that your courses take into account the demands of the global job market.

Looking at the government visa or job skills vacancies from the three largest English-speaking countries, it is immediately clear that there are skills deficits, especially in the Medical, IT, and Engineering fields.

Fortunately, the GSE Teacher Toolkit comes with free resources that are aligned to specific job skills, and which in turn can help inform your course design.

What’s more, the GSE professional learning objectives have been designed to be relevant to real-world situations. These resources, which can be found online within the GSE Teacher Toolkit, can help inform teachers’ decisions in the selection of the most appropriate content and ensure that their students are mastering the right skills. The toolkit includes a free bank of learning objectives, course resources and downloadable files to support the student journey, across the four skills of reading, writing, listening and speaking.

Spotlight on Nursing

Registered nurses post-Brexit – a crisis within a crisis?

According to the Royal College of Nursing, in the year since the EU referendum, the percentage of nurses joining the nursing and midwifery council register from the EU has fallen by over 90%.

This finding could point to a future shortage of English-speaking nurses entering the workforce and put unprecedented pressure on the National Health Service (NHS), at least in the short term.

What might this mean for English language schools and employers?

If the statistic above is a true reflection of a potential shortfall in available nurses, and unless the UK government can expedite nursing training programmes for UK-based students, then there will still be a need to recruit English-speaking qualified nurses from outside of the United Kingdom.

It will also, of course, be necessary to ensure that these nurses have the right level of English to fill those vacancies quickly. The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has reviewed its policy on minimum requirements for English language proficiency as follows:

1. An academic IELTS level 7 or an alternative test that matches its criteria including mapping to IELTS level 7.0 (which is the equivalent to B2-B2+ CEFR or 65-72 GSE)


2. Completion of a recent pre-registration nursing or midwifery programme that has been taught and examined in English;


3. Registration and two years of registered practice with a nursing or midwifery regulator in a country where English is the first and native language.

How can you align your ELT course to these requirements?

The GSE Teacher Toolkit can help and support you in aligning your English course to relevant nursing job skills.

For example, if you search – professional learners – choose job role – Registered Nurses – and select show results – it lists 38 learning objectives across the 4 skills.

You can also see what level they are at on both the GSE and CEFR scales. This not only helps you select the right level-appropriate learning objectives for teaching English, but also delivers examples that are relevant to the real world, saving you time and effort.

Download the search results

Beyond learning objectives, you can also select specific vocabulary, suited to a medical setting and level, for example. If you search for between 65-72 GSE (or B2-B2+ CEFR) as stated in the RCN minimum requirements for nurses – selecting adult learners – choose skill – Medicine and Medical treatments – and select show results – it lists over 100 results.

Download the first 50

Additionally, you can also see which words come with audio files, via the ‘speaker’ icons. These come in British or American English and are useful to support pronunciation practice.

So what’s the solution?

Although claims abound in the press that the English language test for nurses is too difficult and study grants are being replaced with loans – all seemingly stacking the odds against the student, what’s clear is the importance of adequately preparing students with the right level of proficiency, using role-appropriate materials.

Managing expectations is paramount, both for how long it really takes to progress through the levels but also for what an individual ‘thinks’ their level might be.

By using the job profile resources in the GSE teacher toolkit and assessments like the Placement or Progress tests from Pearson, teachers can design courses to meet the needs of the student and the market, while managing expectations along the way.

Approaching course design in this way, not only offers teachers with a more informed approach to course selection, it also equips the student with useful skills for the workplace and makes sound business sense for language schools. 

About the Global Scale of English

The Global Scale of English is a standardized, granular scale from 10 to 90, which measures English language proficiency. Unlike other frameworks, which describe attainment in wide bands, the Global Scale of English identifies what a learner can do at each point on the scale across speaking, listening, reading and writing skills. For instance, a person who has a speaking ability of 35 “can answer questions about what they do at work and in their free time”.

The scale is designed to motivate learners by demonstrating step-by-step progress in their language ability. Teachers can use their knowledge of their students’ Global Scale of English level to choose course material that is precisely matched to ability and learning goals.

The Global Scale of English serves as a standard against which English language courses and assessments worldwide can be benchmarked, offering a truly global and shared understanding of language proficiency levels.

Learn more about the Global Scale of English and the free resources available in our GSE teacher toolkit.

Discover more related resources in our 2018 catalogue such as:

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