Recommending a minimum English proficiency standard for entry-level nursing.
ABSTRACT When nurses who are educated internationally immigrate to the United States, they are expected to have English language proficiency in order to function as a competent nurse. The purpose of this research was to provide sufficient information to the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) to make a defensible recommended passing standard for English proficiency. This standard was based upon the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). A large panel of nurses and nurse regulators (N = 25) was convened to determine how much English proficiency is required to be minimally competent as an entry-level nurse. Two standard setting procedures, the Simulated Minimally Competent Candidate (SMCC) procedure and the Examinee Paper Selection Method, were combined to produce recommendations for each panelist. In conjunction with collateral information, these recommendations were reviewed by the NCSBN Examination Committee, which decided upon an NCSBN recommended standard, a TOEFL score of 220. Because the adoption of this standard rests entirely with the individual state, NCSBN has little more to do with implementing the standard, other than answering questions and providing documentation about the standard.