Assessing students' English language proficiency during clinical placement: A qualitative evaluation of a language framework

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Nurse Education Today, 2015, 35 (6), pp. 771 - 776
Issue Date:
Full metadata record
© 2015 Elsevier Ltd. The increase in nursing students for whom English is an additional language requires clinical facilitators to assess students' performance regarding clinical skills, nursing communication and English language. However, assessing language proficiency is a complex process that is often conflated with cultural norms and clinical skills, and facilitators may lack confidence in assessing English language. This paper discusses an evaluation of a set of guidelines developed in a large metropolitan Australian university to help clinical facilitators make decisions about students' English language proficiency. The study found that the guidelines were useful in helping facilitators assess English language. However, strategies to address identified language problems needed to be incorporated to enable the guidelines to also be used as a teaching tool. The study concludes that to be effective, such guidelines need embedding within a systematic approach that identifies and responds to students who may be underperforming due to a low level of English language proficiency.
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