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Nursing abroad as a career


Courtesy: The Hindu

The professional success of even the most competent specialist doctor often requires the support and assistance of skilled nurses and paramedical personnel. Nurses from India have made their mark at the global level in competence and dedication to duty.

There is a huge demand for good nurses in western countries, especially the U.S. The remuneration is handsome. However, those with a basic nursing qualification obtained in India cannot straightaway join the nursing service there.

In the U.S., you have to prove your competence by passing the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). Then there is the CGFNS examination, modelled on the lines of NCLEX-RN. Both can now be taken in India.

An important factor is the need for proving your proficiency in the English language, through scores secured in globally accepted tests, such as the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).

Though the medium of instruction in Indian nursing colleges and schools is English, many graduates cannot easily communicate in that language to people from countries such as the U.S. It is, therefore, imperative that nursing students who desire to practise in the West should plan ahead in developing their English language skills to meet the practical demands of working abroad.


The CGFNS International (formerly known as the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools) is an authority on credentials evaluation pertaining to the education, registration and licensure of nurses and other health-care professionals worldwide. It conducts predictive testing and evaluation of nurses trained in various countries, for ensuring their competence and confirming their eligibility for licensure as registered nurses in the U.S.

The three elements for obtaining CGFNS certification are VisaScreen: Visa credentials assessment; certification programme; and credentials evaluation service.

Applicants must have completed Plus Two and passed a government-approved nursing programme of at least two years’ duration. The four-year B.Sc. nursing degree obtained through nursing colleges or the three-and-a-half-year GNM (general nursing and midwifery) diploma obtained through nursing schools and recognised hospitals in India is adequate nursing qualification for appearance in the CGFNS examination and the NCLEX-RN. Also, the candidates should have obtained registration from the nursing council.

The CGFNS requires the nursing diploma/certificate sent directly from the nursing college or school. So also, the registration details should go directly from the nursing council, and not through the candidate.

The qualifying examination measures an applicant’s nursing knowledge based on what nurses must know and do when they practise nursing in the U.S. The foundations of the qualifying examination are based on client (patient) needs. The traditional clinical areas of nursing practice — nursing care of the adult, nursing care of children, maternal and infant nursing, psychiatric and mental health nursing and community health nursing — are covered. The examination ensures that an applicant has the same level of understanding of nursing with various client groups, in various settings, as graduates of U.S. nursing schools have.


The International Commission on Healthcare Professions (ICHP), a CGFNS division, administers the Visa Credentials Assessment Programme for registered nurses who are not U.S. citizens. This certification is essential for applying for a nurse’s visa.

The process comprises four elements: an education analysis; licensure validation; an English language proficiency assessment; and an examination of nursing knowledge.

For confirming nursing knowledge, you must pass the CGFNS qualifying examination or the NCLEX-RN.

You can prove your English language proficiency by securing the required score in TOEFL Internet-based version (iBT) with at least a score of 83 or the IELTS with at least a score of 6.5 in the academic module.

Application procedure

* You complete a Visa credentials assessment application form and submit it along with full payment and your full academic records to CGFNS/ICHP.

* CGFNS/ICHP sends you a permanent identification number.

* You prepare and send a “request for academic records” form to the nursing school where you studied.

* Your school completes the form and returns it by mail to CGFNS/ICHP with your full academic records.

* CGFNS/ICHP notifies your eligibility.

* You prepare and send a “request for validation of registration/license” form to the licensing authority that issued you a registration, including the U.S. Board of Nursing where you passed the NCLEX-RN.

* The licensing authority completes the “request” form and sends it by mail to CGFNS/ICHP.

* CGFNS/ICHP notifies you of insufficient or outstanding documentation, if any.

* You register for TOEFL or IELTS, indicate CGFNS/ICHP as the score recipient, and pass the English proficiency test.

* CGFNS/ICHP receives your TOEFL or IELTS scores and records it in your VisaScreen file, and reviews your eligibility.

All the application forms required are available on the CGFNS web site You can communicate with CGFNS/ICHP using the information provided in the ‘Contact Us’ link on the web site. For sending material by mail, use the address: CGFNS/ICHP VisaScreen: Visa Credentials Assessment, ICHP, 3600 Market Street, Suite 400, Philadelphia, PA 19104-2665, USA.

You should note that your school and the licensing authority have to send your documents by mail to the CGFNS/ICHP and not you. It may be remembered that authorities in the U.S. will insist on the NCLEX-RN qualification for practising as a registered nurse. The CGFNS exam is modelled on the lines of NCLEX-RN. So those who have passed the CGFNS examination can reasonably expect to pass the NCLEX-RN. The conditions for licensure vary from State to State in the U.S. You have to contact the board of nursing in the State where you wish to become licensed.

Certification programme

As mentioned above, there are some differences among the States in the U.S., with regard to the licensure for registered nurses. In most of the States, internationally educated nurses should possess the CGFNS certificate for taking the NCLEX-RN. The application procedure for CGFNS Certification is as follows:

* You complete an application form for the CGFNS certification with appropriate fee.

* CGFNS sends you an identification number and CGFNS official study guide.

* You prepare and send request for validation of registration/license forms to the licensing authority (nursing council).

* You prepare and send a request for academic records form to your nursing college or school.

* CGFNS checks your documents and notifies your eligibility.

* You register for TOEFL or IELTS, indicate CGFNS as the score recipient, and pass the English proficiency test.

* Simultaneously prepare for the CGFNS qualifying examination.

* CGFNS notifies your eligibility and the date and location of the examination.

* You take the examination (administered three times a year in over 45 test sites worldwide), and once a year in select test sites. In India, the usual test centres are Bangalore, Kochi, Delhi and Mumbai.

* CGFNS notifies you of the qualifying examination results.

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Filed under: Career Corner, , ,

Barriers to rapid reading



There is no really insurmountable barrier

save our own inherent weakness of purpose.

— Kin Hubbard, American Humorist

You want to read fast. But there would be several impediments, mostly in the form of poor reading habits. Unless you consciously fight and overcome them, you may not be able to move forward.

•Reading word by word

This is how everyone started reading. But you have to come out of the habit and start seeing group of words, if you want to increase the speed. Also, reading word by word hampers comprehension.

Try the following sentence. Read each word aloud in the same tone, one word at a time.

The / habit / of / reading / word / by / word / is / a / serious / stumbling / block / in / enhancing / reading / speed / and / improving / comprehension.

You were slow in reading, and you failed to grasp the idea contained in the sentence.

Now try to read the same sentence as groups of words.

The habit of reading word by word / is a serious stumbling block / in enhancing reading speed / and / improving comprehension.

The logical grouping of words enhanced your reading speed and helped in comprehension. The idea contained in the text becomes clear only when you appreciate the relationship among the words. Remember, you read with the mind in unison with the eyes, and not by eyes alone. You must have noted that the tone differs from word to word when you read as word groups. A word flows into the next. There is a rhythm. Each word does not stop abruptly.


If too much of regression has become a habit, despite the reader’s fine level of comprehension, a deliberate effort should be made to get rid of it. Elimination of habitual regression is possible, if you have the will to undergo reading practice with this goal in view. If, however, the text contains too many unfamiliar words, the construction of the sentences is roundabout or the ideas are hard to follow, you may have to regress to some extent.

•Faulty reading

Many people have defective visual perception; they would read one word for another – change for charge, sail for tail, censor for censure, industrial for industrious, Rome for roam, top for pot and so on. This leads to confusion in comprehension and consequent regression, slowing down reading. If it is a case of sheer carelessness, better concentration will help. If rapid word recognition is not being facilitated, drills in recognition should be attempted.

•Defective return sweep

Check how your eyes travel from the end of a line to the beginning of the next. If they move back horizontally along the line and then vertically drop to the start of the next line, there is room for correction. Train your eyes to travel diagonally from the end of a line to the beginning of the next. This will save the time for the return sweep almost to half. Frequently check and confirm that the new habit has taken roots in your system.

•Reading aloud

This seriously affects your reading speed. Though you can think quickly, your mind has to wait till the lips and the tongue have finished the movements to read out the passage. The pace of the loud reading would be constant. You do not spend more time for assimilating a tough idea; nor do you skip an easy passage that contains no new knowledge. Further, it would be hard for you to read aloud continuously for a few hours, since you would become tired.

If you allow your lips to move for reading, you can hardly exceed the speed of 150 words per minute. A good silent reader can easily go up to 350 words per minute or more.

You get a wrong impression that the passage has been learnt, when you finish reading it aloud once; the truth may be otherwise. Making a noise is different from grasping and idea.

Sometimes a reader may not be making a sound, but would be moving the lips and tongue as when reading aloud. This form of vocalisation also slows down your reading. If you go for silent reading, you can read fast and control your reading speed to suit the difficulty level of the passage.

A careful silent reader would have assimilated the ideas when he finishes the reading. The flexibility in silent reading enables him to read fast, with the speed of reading regulated in tune with the complexity of the passage. Even skimming through the passage could be done whenever possible.

There are instances where you have to read aloud, as when you are trying to improve your pronunciation or when you are enjoying the charms of poetry.


In this, there is no movement of the lips, tongue or vocal cords. But you go on speaking to your inner self. You speak every word to yourself and listen to it. You ‘hear’ each word.

When you were learning to read, you used to hear physically every word. But that tradition should not be carried forward indefinitely. A fluent reader does not have to hear the words, either physically or in the head. He can see groups of words and grasp their meaning, without hearing them.

It is true that all would sub-vocalise at times. But that should be occasional and not a routine. If you are in the habit of sub-vocalisation, gradually bring it down, and see how you progress in increasing the reading speed. If you attempt to stop sub-vocalisation in one go, you would experience difficulty in comprehension. It has therefore to be a phased process.

•Finger pointing

This slows down the speed terribly. Though your eyes can travel fast, they are held down by the slow speed of the finger that rests on each word progressively. You can read only one word at a time. Some people move a pencil or pointer along the line of the print, as a guide to reading. No good reader should go for such a crutch.

•Head swinging

This is a habit shown even by very educated persons. They swing the head from one fixation to the next or from one line to the next. There is no need for the head to move; the eyes can travel independently. They require no help from the swinging neck. After all, the swinging will cause muscular fatigue, and force you to stop reading after a short period.

Head swinging does not add to the reading speed. Unless someone else points out this defect, you may carry on with it, at the expense of your reading speed. Change the habit through conscious effort.

Filed under: Snippets, ,

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