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Enhancing international medical graduates' communication: the contribution of applied linguistics


Dahm, MR and Yates, L and Ogden, K and Rooney, K and Sheldon, B, Enhancing international medical graduates' communication: the contribution of applied linguistics, Medical Education, 49, (8) pp. 828-837. ISSN 0308-0110 (2015) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

2015 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

DOI: doi:10.1111/medu.12776


Context: International medical graduates (IMGs) make up one-third of the Australian medical workforce. Those from non-English-language backgrounds can face cultural and communication barriers, yet linguistic support is variable and medical educators are often required to provide feedback on both medical and communication issues. However, some communication difficulties may be very specific to the experiences of IMGs as second language users.

Objectives: This interdisciplinary study combines perspectives from applied linguistics experts and clinical educators to address IMGs' difficulties from multiple dimensions and to enhance feedback quality.

Methods: Five video-recorded patient encounters with five IMGs were collected at Launceston General Hospital. Three clinical educators gave quantitative and qualitative feedback using the Rating Instrument for Clinical Consulting Skills, and two applied linguistics experts analysed the data for language, pragmatic and communication difficulties. The comparison of the educators' language-related feedback with linguistic analyses of the same interactions facilitated the exploration of differences in the difficulties identified by the two expert groups.

Results: Although the clinical educators were able to use their tacit intuitive understanding of communication issues to identify IMG difficulties, they less frequently addressed the underlying issues or suggested specific remedies in their feedback.

Conclusions: This pilot study illustrates the effectiveness of interdisciplinary collaboration in highlighting the specific discourse features contributing to IMG communication difficulties and thus assists educators in deconstructing their intuitive knowledge. The authors suggest that linguistic insights can therefore improve communications training by assisting educators to provide more targeted feedback.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:applied linguistics, international medical graduates, education
Research Division:Language, Communication and Culture
Research Group:Linguistics
Research Field:Linguistics not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Education and Training
Objective Group:Teaching and curriculum
Objective Field:Teacher and instructor development
UTAS Author:Ogden, K (Dr Kathryn Ogden)
UTAS Author:Rooney, K (Associate Professor Kim Rooney)
UTAS Author:Sheldon, B (Dr Brooke Sheldon)
ID Code:101852
Year Published:2015
Web of Science® Times Cited:13
Deposited By:Medicine
Deposited On:2015-07-13
Last Modified:2018-04-05

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