...BlogsMay Parsons: empowering healthcare professionals through OET Test preparation
May Parsons: empowering healthcare professionals through OET Test preparation


In healthcare, effective communication isn't just an important skill; it's a lifeline connecting caregivers with those in need. That’s why May Parsons, a renowned nurse who administered the first COVID-19 vaccine worldwide, is a fierce champion for language proficiency among healthcare professionals.  

And it’s why we recently announced May our Global Ambassador, because at OET we're strong believers in the power of clear communication for safe, patient-centred care. May's journey from being a nurse in the Philippines to being a well-known healthcare leader in the UK is a testament to the pivotal role language plays in effective and empathetic healthcare delivery. 

When May moved to the UK 20 years ago, there was no requirement for internationally trained healthcare workers to undertake English testing. These days, it’s now a prerequisite for registration.  

As May points out, choosing a healthcare-specific test is a great way to prepare for the everyday demands of the workplace. “When I took the OET Test, I found that the terminology and materials were things I was already communicating about in my daily work. There wasn’t anything that was unfamiliar – the substance of the test were things that I already knew, and deal with every day.”  

For healthcare professionals moving to a new country workplace, the transition to English-speaking environments can be daunting. Having confidence in your communication so you can work effectively with colleagues and administer effective care is a great way for migrant healthcare workers to build morale and certainty while adjusting to these new settings.  

That’s why, says May, the right preparation can make all the difference. "For healthcare professionals who are planning on working in another country, the resources and courses in OET preparation materials not only prepare you to succeed on the OET Test but also give you that confidence to be sure your clinical skills can shine.” 

Reflecting on her own experience, May acknowledges that having the option to take an assessment like the OET Test would have been a great source of comfort and confidence before starting her first shift, as adapting to a new language and culture is stressful.  

"That’s a hard part about being an international nurse – you communicate in the language that you’re used to from the country you came from. When you come to any English-speaking country there’s always going to be a transition period where you’re used to listening and reacting in your native language."  

Soft skills development is another reason that May believes the OET preparation and the OET Test are useful for healthcare professionals. The significance of workers who have learned how to be empathetic when communicating with patients, and learned to negotiate and clearly communicate in team environments are also vital skills to both succeed in workplaces and increase patient satisfaction and safety.  

“Empathy and sensitivity are important in healthcare settings,” said May. “I wouldn’t be where I am today without this superior communication skillset.” 

May’s journey serves as a beacon for healthcare professionals navigating the complexities of language and culture in their practice. Through her advocacy for OET, she not only empowers individuals to excel in their careers but also underscores the profound impact of effective communication on patient outcomes. As the healthcare landscape continues to evolve, May Parsons's voice resonates as a guiding force, reminding us of the transformative power of language in healing and care. 


Read more about May’s story and ambassadorship announcement. 


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