Preparing for Nursing in Canada
Preparing for CELBAN helps you prepare for nursing in Canada. Canadian nursing practice can be quite different from nursing practice in other countries. This might include the scope of practice (what a nurse is allowed to do and expected to do with and for patients) and standards for communication. Canadian healthcare is patient-centred and team-oriented, requiring nurses to understand patients’ needs and desires for their health care and wellbeing, as well as to communicate with patients and their families about shared health care goals and priorities. This means that strong communication competencies are required by all nursing professionals.
That’s why CELBAN is a made-in-Canada test that reflects nursing practice in Canada. CELBAN scoring criteria are referenced to the Canadian Language Benchmarks
(CLB), a communicative language proficiency scale. CELBAN is a task-based assessment that assesses your communicative ability to perform the required tasks in English. Therefore, preparing for CELBAN means reflecting on and practising how nurses communicate in Canada. Unlike other language proficiency assessments, which may move you away from your occupation-specific subject area, CELBAN grounds you in healthcare – your area of expertise.
Preparing for CELBAN
The best way to prepare for an assessment like CELBAN is to develop the language skills described in the Test Information Manual
. These language skills will help you become a clear and more confident communicator.
Some key language skills include (but are not limited to):
- Spelling accuracy
- Spelling medical terms correctly is especially critical to communicating safely
- Sentence structure
- Using correct grammar helps with clarity of speech and writing
- Using an organizing principle can help guide your communication. For example:
- introduce, support, conclude, or choose three main points and keep your communication focused on those
- Use a technique like SBAR – situation, background, assessment, and recommendation
When preparing for CELBAN, it is important to familiarize yourself with the Policies and Procedures for taking the test. The CELBAN Centre offers a number of resources to help you prepare for your test, which are outlined below. In addition to the resources available on our website, other potential resources are also described here.
CELBAN Centre Resources
Test Information Manual
Review the Test Information Manual
to learn about the CELBAN test format and what to expect on test day.
CELBAN Tip Sheets
The CELBAN Tip Sheets
focus on the different skill areas and general test-taking strategies. Sample questions feature tasks that you will have to complete as part of the CELBAN and in your nursing practice.
CELBAN Readiness Self-Assessment (CRSA)
Before you register to take the test, you can assess your English language communication skills online using the CELBAN Readiness Self-Assessment
. It's a quick way to check your readiness for CELBAN and it's free!
CELBAN Practice Handbooks
The CELBAN Practice Handbooks can help you prepare for CELBAN, as well as provide an opportunity to engage with relevant nursing material while practising skills that you need to demonstrate on the CELBAN and to communicate in nursing in general. The CELBAN Practice Handbooks are in PDF format, and upon purchase you will receive links to download the materials.
English as a Second Language (ESL) Training Programs
The best way to gain accuracy in language use is to get some professional instruction. An ESL program, a private tutor, or online self-directed learning programs are all good options. When pursuing language training, be sure to focus on the key language skills identified in the Test Information Manual.
Nursing Bridging Education
There are many programs available across Canada that provide orientation and language and communication training to internationally educated nurses. If the opportunity is available to you, joining one of these programs is always recommended. Participation in such a program is great practice for CELBAN, especially when the program offers the Institutional CELBAN.
Working in a Health-Related English-Speaking Environment
Being immersed in English will help your fluency and confidence, and is an excellent way to learn by interacting with the professionals around you. If you have an opportunity to work in a health-related professional context, be active and ask questions.
Test Preparation Programs
Although there are some test preparation courses available at school boards, colleges, and through private providers, we do not endorse any CELBAN test preparation programs. If you decide to invest in such a program, make sure that the program is reputable and that you get good references from others who have attended.