Not a nurse, but interested in nursing

  1. Just to say hi and comment that I'm a bit of an "intruder" - I teach English as a Foreign Language to nursing students here in Tenerife (Spain). I try to teach them the language nurses use, that's why I've come to this site. Keep talking!
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  2. 9 Comments

  3. by   suzanne4
    beatiful island that you live on, i spent new year's there a few years ago.
    i actually teach nurses over here in bangkok, but they already have a license to practice and many are wishing to go to work overseas.

    are you an american? are you teaching directly at a nursing school, or thru
    a private english program?

    and a big welcome to you.
  4. by   tenerife
    Thanks for the reply, it's sometimes difficult to connect with others in the same position. I'm American, but I've been here for ages and have Spanish nationality.
    I'm teaching nursing students at the university-affiliated school, their level isn't very high but we have a lot of tourists and foreign residents, so you can imagine English is quite important for them.
    What about you? What's it like in Bangkok? What material do you use for teaching English? Are you a nurse? I imagine it helps a lot to be in the profession - I've learned so much about nursing since I've been at the school!
  5. by   suzanne4
    Bigger problem over here with the English, even many tourists have a rudimentary understanding of Spanish, not with the medical terms but at least can get by, however over here, the Thai language is so different just in terms of grammar from English. The noun comes first, then the adjective. All of the words are put together in to one sentence, there is no punctuation.
    There are no tenses like we have in English and Spanish, you can just tell by what they are talking about as to when it happened.

    We have found that we have some of the best results with English newspaper articles in terms of teaching. Current events are much more interesting than looking at an old textbook. My favorite book that we use in the classroom is Chabner's Language of Medicine. It is perfect for teaching the right terms to use, as well as the pronunciation.

    I do have a major advantage in that I have been a nurse for over 25 years in the US,so experience backs me up on a lot of things.

    Please keep in touch.................
  6. by   tenerife
    Yes, I can imagine the language barriers are even more difficult to overcome - I wouldn't like to wind up in a hospital in a country like Thailand, where the language is so very different from English.

    Mind you, my students tell me some stories about the treatment foreign patients receive here... ...good thing I know Spanish! And even then...

    One of my problems is that our students need British English - for example, just the other day on the UK part of this site, I found out that the abbreviation BM does not stand for "bowel movement" in Br E, but blood glucose monitor!:imbar I advise my students to avoid abbreviations with patients anyway - just goes to show.

    My students' level of English isn't up to understanding a newspaper, or the material from the "Language of Medicine", and they simply aren't very interested in current events, so we've prepared our own materials, mainly focused on Medical topics (body, hospital, nursing procedures...) - along with anecdotes found on this forum and on the Internet. I've even adapted some video clips from the NCLEX-RN material to use in class. (It's hard to measure the outcomes though, all they want is to pass - not necessarily to learn English!) I just wish I knew more about specific language a nurse would need when treating a patient, never having done so myself!

    Have you continued to work as a nurse? I saw that you were running a school for Conversational English, so have you left nursing then?

    Anyway, good luck to you out there in Asia... and hope you can come to Tenerife again some day!
  7. by   suzanne4
    One word of advice, be very careful with your students just memorizing phrases to say to patients. It can actually be more detrimental to the patient if they think that the nurse speaks English when they don't understand what the patient is going to say.

    Most of my students speak no English when they start my program, and their vocabulary has increased tremendously in a very short time. Would also recommend English language movies for your students, this helps considerably. I would concentrate more on basic English skills before attempting the medical terms, or more problems are going to crop up for you.
    The Chabner will be quite helpful with their learning medical terms and the appropriate pronunciation to go along with it. This is the textbook that all of my students use, and it is actually geared for non-medical people. I highly recommend it. It will also be quite helpful to them in their other nursing classes as well.
  8. by   suzanne4
    Another suggestion, if not already doing it:
    Skills for answering the telephone if it is a foreign speaker, giving directions in the hospital to foreigners. This will give them a better understanding is actually requested by many of the students that I teach.

    Many times foreigners will call the unit to find out information about a family member, especially from another country.................this is quite helpful to all involved.
  9. by   tenerife
    I'm glad your course is working for you.

    Some of my students have told me that our course has been useful in their nursing practice, so we are getting somewhere with them. It's hard when there are 50 students in the classroom...
    Actually, we don't use Chabner's book because the problem isn't so much the technical terms (which as you pointed out aren't so difficult for Spanish-speaking students), our problem is getting our students to be able to explain problems, treatments, etc. in more comprehensible and simpler terms. For example, they understand "cardiac infarction" because it's similar in Spanish, but they don't know how to say "heart attack", which their Russian or Moroccan patient may be more likely to understand. Or to use euphemisms like "BM" (where I nearly put my foot in it) instead of saying "sh**" , which is what you get if you look the usual Spanish expression up in the dictionary.


    I agree we should work more on their general English skills, but for some reason it's frowned upon in my department, so I've had to introduce a good deal of nursing language into a course which should be concentrating on everyday English.

    Thanks for the ideas!
  10. by   suzanne4
    Quote from tenerife
    I'm glad your course is working for you.

    Some of my students have told me that our course has been useful in their nursing practice, so we are getting somewhere with them. It's hard when there are 50 students in the classroom...
    Actually, we don't use Chabner's book because the problem isn't so much the technical terms (which as you pointed out aren't so difficult for Spanish-speaking students), our problem is getting our students to be able to explain problems, treatments, etc. in more comprehensible and simpler terms. For example, they understand "cardiac infarction" because it's similar in Spanish, but they don't know how to say "heart attack", which their Russian or Moroccan patient may be more likely to understand. Or to use euphemisms like "BM" (where I nearly put my foot in it) instead of saying "sh**" , which is what you get if you look the usual Spanish expression up in the dictionary.


    I agree we should work more on their general English skills, but for some reason it's frowned upon in my department, so I've had to introduce a good deal of nursing language into a course which should be concentrating on everyday English.

    Thanks for the ideas!
    That book will help you with that. I highly suggest that you get a copy.
    The book was actually not written for nurses, but someone that doesn't have a medical background. It may give you quite a bit of useful info that you could incorporate into your teaching plan.

    Just a suggestion.....................
  11. by   Energizer Bunny
    I knew Suzanne would nab this one. She's the expert. OP...just wanted to welcome you to the site!

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