Addressing the English language needs of international nursing students
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This paper addresses the English language needs of the international nursing student, and outlines the factors requiring the most immediate attention. A strategic direction that could be taken for the implementation of an English language intervention will be suggested. The paper will begin by reviewing the research on the language needs of international nursing students, followed by an investigation of the academic demands on the international cohort, especially considering the students’ lack of time for extra study. Drawing from the research, a focus on specialised vocabulary (in both spoken and written forms) is suggested as a preparatory strategy for students. This is because vocabulary learning is a core language activity that is key to the reception of knowledge, and essential to the preparation of the student for engagement in the classroom and the clinical placement setting. The paper provides further evidence that validates a focus on vocabulary, referring to how vocabulary breadth is a better predictor of academic success than IELTS (yet problematises any simple applications of this finding, both in terms of the important role of the IELTS test and the complicated processes underpinning vocabulary acquisition). Finally, some key recommendations are given at the end of the paper.