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Nurse Educ Pract. 2006 Sep;6(5):268-74. doi: 10.1016/j.nepr.2006.02.004. Epub 2006 Mar 31.

Clinically speaking: A communication skills program for students from non-English speaking backgrounds.

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ELSSA Centre, University of Technology, Sydney, P.O. Box 222, Lindfield NSW 2070, Australia.


This paper reports on the design, delivery and evaluation of an innovative oral communication skills program for first year students in a Bachelor of Nursing degree at an Australian university. This program was introduced in 2004 to meet the needs of first year undergraduate students from non-English speaking backgrounds who had experienced difficulties with spoken English while on clinical placement. The program consisted of early identification of students in need of communication development, a series of classes incorporated into the degree program to address students' needs, followed by a clinical placement block. This paper describes the structure of the program, discusses some of the major problems encountered by students in the clinical setting and presents some of the teaching strategies used to address these problems. Evaluations of the program suggest that students' communication skills and confidence improved, resulting in a more positive clinical experience for the majority of students.


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