Working Collaboratively to Facilitate the Acquisition of Culturally Relevant and Competent Communication Skills in ESL Nursing Students for Clinical Practice

Thursday, 2 August 2012: 1:35 PM

Paul J. Glew, EdD, RN, BN, BEd, GradCertClinSc (ICN), MN
School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Western Sydney, Penrith South, Australia
Sharon Patricia Hillege, RN, RM, BHS, PGCert, PhD
School of Nursing & Midwifery, The University of Western Sydney, Penrith South DC NSW 2751, Australia
Barbara L. Beale, MNurs (Hons), BAppScNurs
School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Western Sydney, Penrith 1797, Australia
Lyn E. Stewart, RN, RM, BHScN, MEd, (Adult, Ed), Cert, IV, Teaching, Conversational, English
School of Nursing & Midwifery, University of Western Sydney, Penrith NSW 2751, Australia

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to identify the strategies that a nursing program uses to develop effective communication in ESL students for clinical placements.

Learning Objective 2: The learner will be able to explain approaches to the teaching and learning of ESL nursing students that develop English language skills for clinical practice.

Purpose: This paper explores clinical communication interventions for undergraduate nursing students with English as a second language (ESL) within a multicampus program at the University of Western Sydney. Students are expected to communicate effectively with patients, nurses, and other health care professionals. Limited oral communication skills in English can cause anxiety for ESL nursing students and this can negatively impact on learning in a clinical setting. In addition, students may experience difficulties in using nursing terminology and appropriate expressions for interactions in this setting. The development of communication skills that are adequate for clinical practice can take intensive instruction and practice over time for a non-native speaker of English.

Methods: To address these needs the School of Nursing and Midwifery designed tailored clinical communication workshops that focus on developing speaking skills for the clinical setting. The workshops are comprised of a series of interactive sessions including the use of nursing terminology, interviewing, telephone, report writing and handover skills. The students participate in discussions of scenarios and engage in role-play that integrates conflict resolution, problem solving, nursing and clinical language enabling each student to practice the use of spoken and written English in preparation for practice in a variety of healthcare settings.

Results: These clinically focused workshops assist in preparing students for clinical placements and also provide additional remedial support for students who have experienced language difficulties during their practicum. Students self-refer or are referred by the clinical education unit. The current program has been evaluated using a triangulated approach from quantitative and qualitative summative surveys as well as information from clinical placement summaries.

Conclusion: The findings of this project reveal that there are substantial benefits for ESL nursing students who participate in this form of clinical language intervention program resulting in improved confidence and competence in communication for practice.