Advice, information and safety by means of language:
internationally recruited nurses demonstrating their
professional Finnish language skills Cover Image

Ohjeita, tietoa ja turvaa kielen keinoin. Ulkomailta palkatut sairaanhoitajat ammatillista suomen kielen taitoaan osoittamassa
Advice, information and safety by means of language: internationally recruited nurses demonstrating their professional Finnish language skills

Author(s): Marja Seilonen, Minna Suni
Subject(s): Communication studies, Health and medicine and law, Welfare services, Migration Studies
Published by: Eesti Rakenduslingvistika Ühing (ERÜ)
Keywords: Finnish as a second language; migration; professional language; language assessment; health communication;

Summary/Abstract: The focus of this paper is on the professional language used by four internationally educated nurses working in Finnish in Finland. 'e data comes from a tailor-made professional language test module including integrated material-based tasks. 'e module was designed by the project Healthcare Finnish: developing and assessing Finnish proficiency among health care professionals (2014-2015) to complement the skilled profiles based on the test results of the National Certificates of Language Proficiency (NCLP) intermediate level test. None of the participants had yet reached the level B2 in Finnish, and one of them had reached level B1 in speaking comprehension only. Level B1 (level 3 in NCLP) is currently the level required for authorization in the Finnish health sector for non-EU/EEA health care professionals. However, there are official suggestions that, in the future, the requirements be raised to level B2 (level 4 in NCLP) and also covers EU/EEA educated professionals (Ministry of Education 2014). Assessment of professional language skills has also been suggested, but no decisions have been made on this yet. The aim of the qualitative analysis of the test performance data was to and out how the participants utilize different syntactic, lexical and pragmatic resources to express communicative functions such as giving instructions and documenting information, which is typical for health communication. Also under scrutiny was their ability to shi) between professional and colloquial language use. The results of this analysis and the content analysis of the feedback interviews used as background data suggest that the four participants with one year of work experience in Finland are even more con"dent with the professional language than with the “general language”. This clearly shows that their language proficiency has mainly developed in the work environment. In spite of some obvious problems with grammatical and lexical accuracy, the participants were able to perform work-related linguistic functions such as giving advice, providing information and calming down the patient in a fluent and comprehensible manner and to shi) between professional and colloquial registers rather smoothly. Such internationally educated professionals who already are employed in Finland would certainly benefit from language education organized in close connection to their daily working life and the tasks performed there. Similarly, those still seeking employment would benefit from tailor-made language courses with work-related content.

  • Issue Year: 2016
  • Issue No: 26
  • Page Range: 450-480
  • Page Count: 31
  • Language: Finnish