Towards improved quality of written patient records (2013-2016)

Language proficiency standards for non-native speaking health professionals

Assoc. Professor Ute Knoch and Professor Tim Mcnamara et al

ARC Linkage Project LP130100171

This project focused on the quality and safety of healthcare in Australia and improved the screening of written communication of overseas trained non-native English speaking health professionals. Strong written communication skills among overseas trained doctors and nurses are critical to the quality of patient records and safe patient care. In Australia, these skills are assessed using the Occupational English Test (OET), administered by the OET Centre, our partner organisation. This study researched writing practices in hospitals, identifying doctors' and nurses' criteria used to evaluate effective records, and then applied these criteria to the OET to set more profession-oriented passing standards on the OET written assessment. This wasachieved by bringing together a multi-disciplinary team including applied linguists, clinical educators, the OET Centre, and three partner hospitals.