May 11, 2016 Kim Grant

English for medical purposes

5 Things You Need to Know

After many years of study in arguably one of the most challenging subjects it seems a big task to relearn it in another language. Learning a new language is difficult enough, where do you begin to try and learn and apply it within the high-pressure field of medicine? Based on the personal experience in Jonathan Mcfarland’s publication – Teaching English to the medical profession: Developing communication skills and bringing humanities to medicine, take a look at 5 top tips to a better understanding of how to take on the challenge of learning English for medical purposes.

  1. Do presentations

    This is the most practical example of combining what is necessary for a doctor, with what is integral to using a new language. Medical personal need to do presentations in many aspects of everyday work from interviewing a patient; to informing a relative; to medical conferences and talks. When learning English, try to communicate a topic with your teacher or fellow medical learners. This will allow for easy assessment as to your capabilities and progress with English, as well as continual practice of a skill you will need to use most often in your profession.

  2. But, remember to do both oral and written learning

    While mastering presentations will be the key to your success, English for medical purposes cannot only be oral as paper work and the writing of medical journals comes hand in hand with spoken English. Equally, a language should never be learnt in only one dimension, but through exercises and assessment in reading, writing, speaking and listening.

  3. Learn from your peers

    Hospitals can be cliquey; English shouldn’t be. Fellow peers in varying fields within the medical profession can be the perfect tool to gaining better insight into English for your career. Not only are you learning English, but you are learning it within a complex and in-depth field – medicine. It is possible to learn from your peers whether they are a porter, nurse, doctor, surgeon or a head of department. Furthermore; with advancements in technology, it is no longer necessary to be confined to a classroom and it’s possible to use emails, weblinks, online threads and more to communicate and learn with others in your industry.

  4. It is supposed to be this difficult

    Doctors speaking English

    Doctors speaking English

    Don’t forget as a medical professional, you have studied for many years primarily in science. Taking on a new language is a humanities study. At first this might be very difficult to deal with; however it is possible to combine the two departments and study instead a theme of humanities in medicine. It is through many of the tips above like using presentations to communicate; and learning from your peers that you will be able to bridge the gap between the medical and art studies; and gain a better understanding of a language and how to make the best use of it in a science dominated work space.

  5. There is a bright future for English in medicine

    “Good communication skills are integral to medical and other healthcare practice. Communication is important not only to professional-patient interaction, but also within the healthcare team,” (British Medical Association). With advancements in technology; and a more open-minded approach to the sharing of information, English as an international language is starting to appear in teaching hospitals and medical universities and is being used in online blogs for inter-hospital communications. In future, English could become an fundamental part of hospital training and serve to boost communications greatly aiding the profession.

We run a specialised Medical English course for medical professionals. If you need assistance with improving your English then contact us. By joining one of our specialized English courses you can develop your English skills quickly. And if you don’t feel like travelling you can have private online lessons. We are here to answer your questions!

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