THE LANGUAGE NEEDS OF MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS IN NSUKKA METROPOLIS

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ABSTRACT


The purpose of this study was to analyse the language needs of the medical professionals in the Nsukka metropolis. Needs analysis is all about finding out the visions of a particular group and how to make such vision a reality through the English language as a second language in harnessing communication among them. In the course of the study, three research questions were formulated. The structured questionnaire was used to obtain data from a sample of 206 medical professionals. The probability random sampling of the sample population is bifurcated as follows: 120 females and 86 males. The population comprised 92 medical professionals from Bishop Shanahan Hospital, Nsukka, 80 medical professionals from Medical Center, University of Nigeria, Nsukka and 34 medical professionals from General Hospital, Nsukka. While analysing the data gathered, tables, pie charts, frequencies and percentages were used. The findings indicated that the English language is very useful in conducting medical tasks and also communicating in the medical field. It also showed that the unification of the four language skills while interacting in the hospitals boost the usefulness of medical English language skills. It stated that the medical students should know their prior aim of using medical English in hospitals. It was concluded that medical professionals should master medical English, knowing the use of the language skills appropriately and having a referent of their primary aims as it concerns communication by using medical English terminology while interacting in hospitals.


TABLE OF CONTENTS

Title Page
Abstract

CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION
1.1.      Background to the Study
1.2.      Statement of the Problem
1.3.      Research Questions
1.4.      Purpose of the Study
1.5.      Significance of the Study
1.6.      Scope of the Study
1.7.      Limitations of the Study

CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW
2.1.      Introduction
2.2.      Theoretical Studies
2.3.      Empirical Studies
2.4.      Summary

CHAPTER THREE: RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
3.1.      Introduction
3.2.      Area of the Study
3.3.      Population of the Study
3.4.      Sampling Procedures
3.5.      Instruments
3.6.      Administration of Instruments
3.7.      Method of Data Analysis

CHAPTER FOUR:  DATA PRESENTATION AND ANALYSIS
4.1.      Introduction
4.2.      Result of the First Research Question
4.3.      Result of the Second Research Question
4.4.      Result of the Third Research Question

CHAPTER FIVE:  SUMMARY OF FINDINGS, CONCLUSION
5.1.      Summary of the Findings
5.2.      Conclusion
5.3.      Recommendations
REFERENCES
APPENDIX

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1.  Background to the Study
English is the only compulsory foreign language taught in Nigeria. Meanwhile, it is a second language (L2) and also serving as the official language. Students take the English language courses for global purposes from primary schools and continue in secondary school. In Nigeria, students consider English as a course to be passed rather than an instrument set apart for their future careers. Today, many Nigerian students hardly use English outside their various classrooms as an effective means of communication. The reasons are not far-fetched. Firstly, they see English as a phenomenon which can only be useful in classrooms. They also believe that speaking purely British English here in Nigeria cannot make them rich easily. Secondly, they believe that English belongs to alien cultures which they have little or no exposure to, despite the fact that English is a vital tool in different workplaces. Our students still pass their examination in English by memorizing vocabulary and mechanical grammar drills but they are not using it often in performing their duties. The issue is that they are not grounded in the rules of this language.


In order to deal with this inappropriate communication in English among Nigerians, including medical practitioners, Nigerian universities established a programme to teach English in their various schools. This area of study is called “the Use of English”. It is a section in the General Studies of the Nigerian universities. This language unit is responsible for teaching the English language courses to students of universities despite their disciplines. However, they still use only the idea of formalism which gives them the rules to pass their courses through memorization and drill. Formalism posits that a language is learnt through a system of symbols which every competent speaker must have learnt. They also believe that it is a code or a system of forms. Formalism cleared the way for functionalism. That is to say that learning of symbols paved way for the use of those symbols to communicate in any society.

Functionalism sees language as a dynamic, open system whereby members of speech community interact. When they saw the power of language in the society as a continuous act, they formed an approach called the communicative language teaching or the communicative approach. Bell (1981: 112) states that the communicative language teaching helps the learner to turn his dormant grammatical competence into a real practical mastery of the target language. As a result of this, the communicative competence serves as a basis for English for specific purposes (ESP). In 1970s and 1980s when communicative approach came up, it was an interesting ideal that made many teachers and teaching institutions restructure their syllabi, teaching methods and resource materials.

Medical institutions are using English as their means of encoding information in the classroom. Students using communicative method should be more relaxed and confident than those using grammar-based method. At this period, there is a slight shift from the grammatical syllabus to the notional syllabus. In line with this, Wilkins (1976) came up with his Notional syllabuses which define the communication needs of the learner and display the various ways in which each communication need can be appropriately met. Language is used to convey information and knowledge. Anasiudu (2001) says that this knowledge and skill bring in the notion of “communicative competence” as opposed to grammatical competence. This approach enables a learner to communicate effectively in every situation he finds himself.

The educational planning unit should consider the learner’s needs more than any other factors such as classroom, instructional resources, etc. When these needs are global, they are not grouping the learners according to their future occupations. Conversely, if, however, the programme is for a particular vocation, the learner’s needs should be analysed and arranged in a special curriculum design to suit those needs. An approach called English for specific.......

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