Effective Customised English Courses for Overseas Nurses?
We have recently finished a three month course for a group of thirty-four European Staff Nurses and Healthcare Assistants at Chesterfield Royal Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. More than fifty people were in fact assessed before deciding who would benefit most from the course and to use the available budget wisely.
The people who did the course have been working at this hospital for some time and had been identified as having English language weaknesses that were negatively affecting their otherwise competent nursing skills.
GPC Language Training’s primary goal was to custom-design a course for the nurses’ individual needs, a wide range of English levels and also for particular problem areas identified by medical colleagues. Here are a couple of examples of how we customised this course:
- A series of simulated conversations, set in frequent nursing situations were recorded with the help of the education team at the hospital. The speakers were NHS staff at the hospital with a range of local Derbyshire or South Yorkshire accents. These professionally –produced recordings were used to great effect throughout the course’s sessions to develop listening skills and knowledge of local dialect/idiomatic phrases.
- A prescribed structure is stipilated in hospitals for nurses to follow when they need to make concise and accurate emergency phone calls to doctors. This presents a major challenge to inexperienced English speakers, so we developed a series of learning activities to convert often rambling and grammatically incorrect verbal information into short and precise information for a listening doctor. Boosting telephone skills is key priority, so as a consequence of applying this approach other types of professional conversation should also improve.
The title of this news item asked the question: ‘Effective Customised English Courses for Overseas Nurses?’ In response to this, what follows are five quotations made by a senior Nurse Educator at Chesterfield Royal Hospital about the course that GPC Language Training designed and delivered for it:
‘The entire course was bespoke, current and relevant.’
‘The nurses benefitted greatly from the use of Derbyshire slang.’
‘The course was aimed at the right level for them.’
‘If there was anything they were struggling with on the wards, we could feed this back to Gary (the course tutor), who always accommodated it in his lesson plans.’
We found Gary professional and pleasant to work alongside’.