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Year : 2010  |  Volume : 23  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 450

Communication Skills Training in English Alone Can Leave Arab Medical Students Unconfident with Patient Communication in their Native Language

1 UAE University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Al Ain, United Arab Emirates
2 UAE University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Al Ain, United Arab Emirates, United Arab Emirates

Correspondence Address:
D M Mirza
UAE University, Al Ain, PO Box 17666
United Arab Emirates
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

PMID: 20853245

Introduction: Communications skills curricula and pedagogy for medical students are often exported to non-English speaking settings. It is assumed that after learning communication skills in English, doctors will be able to communicate effectively with patients in their own language. Methods: We distributed a questionnaire to third year Emirati students at a medical school within the United Arab Emirates. We assessed their confidence in interviewing patients in Arabic after communication skills training in English. Of the 49 students in the sample, 36 subjects (73.5%) completed and returned the questionnaire. Results: Nearly three-quarters (72.2%) of students said they felt confident in taking a history in English, while 27.8% of students expressed confidence in taking a history in Arabic. Half of students anticipated that after their training they would be communicating with their patients primarily in Arabic, and only 8.3% anticipated they would be communicating in English. Conclusions: Communication skills training purely in English can leave Arab medical students ill equipped to communicate with patients in their own communities and tongue.

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