Preceptor Preparation Online Course - Advanced

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Module 5: Managing Learning Experiences with Culturally and Generationally Diverse Students

The Role of Communication

Language is the basis for communication between students and preceptors. Communication is especially difficult in nursing school as nursing students have to learn a new professional "language" of healthcare (Bednarz, Schim & Doorenbos, 2010). This is particularly relevant to APRN communities, as new language of diagnosis and treatments modalities are added to everyday language in healthcare provision.

A healthcare jargon concerto on you-tube reminds us of the professional language we use every day:

Verbal and written communication is challenging for APRN students whose primary language is not English (English as a Second Language or ESL). The use and interpretation of the English language adds an additional barrier to existing cultural barriers that may be experienced. The first barrier to the ESL APRN student is the use of idiomatic English by native United States residents. Idioms are words or groups of words whose meaning has been established by usage, not the actual meaning of the words. An example is "raining cats and dogs" which is impossible to understand from the definition of the words.

Reviewing the day with ESL APRN students and using learning techniques like the one minute preceptor can help these students apply theory to practice and learn critical thinking skills. Additionally using closed loop communication, in which the learner repeats back information, can increase level of understanding by verifying communication and intention.


There are websites which are helpful for ESL speakers to use to understand American idioms.


Read and think about the check point question below. After answering the question, roll over the text and read the answer.

The NP is precepting a NP student from China. The preceptor observes that when talking with physicians, the student never asks clarifying questions and therefore does not fully understand the rationale for new medications or treatments. In getting information about the student's cultural background, the preceptor has learned that individuals from oriental countries have a deep respect for age and authority. How would you the preceptor help the student become more assertive?

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