203600 Pilot study examining an innovative medical English e-learning program for foreign-born nurses

Wednesday, November 11, 2009: 12:50 PM

Zarya Alexandra Rubin, MD, FRCPC , Director of Research, LanguageMate, New York, NY
Melissa Martynenko, MPA, MPH , LanguageMate, New York, NY
Meredith Kursmark, BS , LanguageMate, New York, NY
Ted J. Strauss, BS , LanguageMate, New York, NY
William Z. Tan, BS , Principal Investigator, LanguageMate, New York, NY
Background: Foreign-trained nurses represent a significant and growing proportion of the U.S. nursing workforce. Many foreign nurses encounter communication difficulties due to poor English skills and unfamiliarity with U.S. culture.

Description: A web-based, interactive software prototype was created for foreign-born nurses to improve their medical English and communicative competence. Efficacy and adoptability were determined via oral and written pre-/post-proficiency tests, satisfaction questionnaires, and discussion groups. Proficiency tests evaluated grammar knowledge, vocabulary, listening comprehension, nursing skills, and effective communication techniques.

Lessons Learned: Participants (N=45) completed three lessons using this interactive application. Post-test scores improved by an average of 27% (p<0.0001) over baseline. Users rated the lessons as a highly effective way to learn medical English (98% of users) and improve nursing performance (90%). They affirmed that, with the use of this program, communication with patients (98%), fellow nurses (98%), and physicians (100%) would improve; 95% reported a desire to continue using the online course.

Recommendations: As foreign-born personnel are increasingly sought by U.S. medical facilities, ensuring the ability of foreign-trained nurses to communicate effectively is essential to the proper functioning of our healthcare system. This study successfully demonstrated that a self-directed e-learning program is a highly feasible and desirable method to improve foreign nurses' proficiency in medical English and communicative competence. An expanded cohort study is slated to begin in Fall 2009; results of this study will augment knowledge in e-learning, second language acquisition, nursing education, and patient-provider communication. Funding for this study is provided by NIH/NCMHD.

Learning Objectives:
Describe a linguistic and cultural difficulty faced by foreign-born nurses in the workplace and the importance of addressing these barriers. Discuss the potential of an interactive multimedia language-study program to impact foreign-born nurses' linguistic competence and cultural awareness in the U.S. health care environment. Discuss a future direction for a targeted intervention aimed at improving health communication between providers and patients.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am responsible for the coordination of content development and research activities throughout the program design and study implementation periods. I completed a Masterís degree in Public Policy and Administration at Rutgers University, where I specialized in non-governmental organization management. I also completed a Masterís degree in Public Health at New York University with a concentration in global health and epidemiology.
Any relevant financial relationships? Yes

Name of Organization Clinical/Research Area Type of relationship
Transcendent International, LLC (DBA LanguageMate) Research & Development Employment (includes retainer)

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.