Communication & Medicine, Vol 10, No 3 (2013)

Language issues: An important professional practice dimension for Australian International Medical Graduates

Pam McGrath, David Henderson, Hamish Holewa
Issued Date: 22 May 2014


Issues associated with speech and language have been noted in the international literature as an important aspect of the process of integration for Australian International Medical Graduates (IMGs). This paper makes a contribution through the presentation of a sub-set of findings on the factors associated with speech and language practices for IMGs, taken from a qualitative study which examined the IMGs’ experience of integration into the Australian healthcare system. A purposive sample of 30 IMGs were interviewed via telephone. Participants were asked to share their experience with communicating in English with patients and other health professionals in the context of the Australian healthcare system. The taped interviews were transcribed verbatim and then coded and thematically analysed. The findings indicate that the months following the point of entry into a medical position are a critical time for the majority of IMGs in terms of difficulties with communicating in English. A range of suggestions to improve speech and language skills for IMGs is provided. The findings emphasize the importance of speech and language skills and the serious implications of this issue for the clinical practice of IMGs.

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DOI: 10.1558/cam.v10i3.191


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