Nursing Education and English as Second Language

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 How English as Second Language Is Helpful In Nursing Education

Nursing Education and English as Second Language

What is Second Language,Need of Second Language In Nursing Education,Advantages of Second Language In Nursing Education,Outcomes of Second Language.

What is Second Language

    English as a second language (ESL) students are defined as students who attend grade school outside the United States and use language other than English on a daily basis (Scheele, Pruitt, Johnson, & Xu, 2011) ESL nursing students are a sub population group of minority students who are bilingual and immigrant with different cultural backgrounds.

Need of Second Language In Nursing Education

    Ability to communicate effectively with classmates and faculty members is essential to achieve academic success in demanding and rigorous nursing programs. In order to enrolling nursing programs, international students are required to demonstrate sufficient English skills by tests such as the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), or International English Language Testing System (IELTS), which are expected to be an indicator of aca demic success. In order to help these students, some schools recommend that international students take an extra ESL. 

    Course or Basic English literature course before entering the nursing program. However, even with successful completion of these various English screening tools, researchers have found that ESL nursing students still tend to have more difficulty not only with general aspects of English but also with lack of fluency in scholastic English. This contributes to difficulty in academic performance because nursing requires a higher level of cognitive language than conversational English ( Salamonson , Andrew, Clauson , & Cleary, 2011) High dropout rates for ESL students have been reported. 

    Lower passing rates on National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) have also been reported; the passing rate was 21% lower than that of native speakers (Choi, 2005; Olson, 2012).It is important to address potential challenges that ESL nursing students have during academic years. ESL students encounter many problems that native English speakers do not such as reading assignment, class discussion, group projects, academic writing. and written tests. 

    In general, faculty members use the universal teaching methods for all students regardless of racially and ethnically diverse nursing student needs, and fail to recognize learning barriers for this unique student population. Writing notes while trying to understand lecture with large volumes of information is extremely challenging in a second language. ESL students tend not to ask questions or participate in discussion due to self-consciousness about their English skills or fear of failing to communicate (Olson, 2012), ESL nursing students also have challenges in completing group projects. 

    Often ESL students are viewed as slow or submissive learners to other students and it becomes an obstacle for ESL students to find a group. ESL students tend to formulate their own small group, which may not be helpful to utilize or share resources from English-speaking students.In the clinical setting. ESL nursing students reported facing difficulties with understanding medical terminology and abbreviations. 

    Researchers also found that ESL nursing students experienced language difficulty with patients, family, nursing staff, and other health care providers including introducing themselves, initiating daily conversation, and interacting with other nursing staff to report clinical findings or concerns (Rogan & San Miguel, 2013 ). Communicating with faculty members or classmates by e-mail potentially increases misunderstanding for ESL students due to limited information, inappropriate vocabulary use, or misinterpretation of the sentences and tones.

Advantages of Second Language In Nursing Education

    The ability to speak languages other than English certainly has various benefits. Several researchers have reported better compliance rates and patient outcomes when care is delivered in the patient's own language (Olson, 2012) Admitting students who are culturally and linguistically diverse in nursing programs can maximize the goal of better patient care, patient satisfaction, and outcomes with current rapid demographic change in patient population and increasing complexity of care (Choi, 2005).

    Students with ESL backgrounds require a higher level of support to achieve academically during their nursing program and meet the expected level during clinical experience ( Boughton , Halliday, & Brown, 2010). A number of effective teaching strategies for ESL nursing students have been proposed although current literature on the effectiveness of support or educational needs for ESL students is limited.

    Early identification of students who have difficulty in class and referring them to early intervention such as a writing center, additional English courses, and language support program or peer tutoring may contribute to successful program completion. Mentorship programs driven by faculty members and international students from the same native country or in nursing programs, which included one-on-one interaction, group meetings, and student support groups, showed some promise (Choi, 2005; Condrey & Derico , 2012 : Salamonson et al., 2011).

    Formulating mixed study groups with ESL and native speakers showed improvement for building language skills, offering clarification, and sharing information. On the other hand, study groups among ESL nursing students showed a negative impact on their academic performance by making persistent errors in English and sharing incorrect information (Brown, 2008).

    Faculty members may provide summarize of the lectures at the end of the class. facilitate cognitively demanding questions, and encourage questions from ESL students. Faculty also may implement various test methods to help ESL nursing students such as teaching test taking strategies, reducing language complexity of multiple choice test questions, and giving a test review.Having students bring regional food dishes and wear their native country clothing for a "Culture Day" or "International Student Committee meeting helps the students to reduce cultural shock, and provides an opportunity to share understandings of cultural aspects to faculty members and other students.

Outcomes of Second Language

    As the number of ESL students is growing, there is a concern regarding the lack of understanding of ESL students and their cultures. The important component of providing culturally sensitive care is effective use of language. In order to meet patients' cultural needs and diversity, it is important to prepare nursing students with ESL backgrounds to achieve their academic goals and successfully complete nursing programs.

    There is limited research on education of students with an ESI. background focused on challenges faced by students and faculties There is a need for research evaluating effectiveness of various support systems for ELS students. It would be interesting to see how ESL students from different cultural backgrounds present unique educational needs and language barriers.

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