Overcoming English Language Apprehension in Nursing Education
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Apprehension of Learning English Apprehension of learning English remains one of the most frequently reported fears experienced by many undergraduates that has directly impacted their careers. This apprehension naturally continues to their professional life and has the potential to become a strong barrier for them to seek new knowledge and pursue higher education (Hashemi, 2011). As the world moves with the wings of globalization, learning English has become a mandatory need. Moreover, achieving competency in the English language plays a vital role in every individual (Rao, 2019). However, at the same time, learning the English language is associated with negative experiences by learners in some contexts. They tend to experience an uncomfortable emotional state when using the English language. It makes them feel stressed and powerless (Krishnamoorthy, 2019). It is widely accepted that individuals may feel physiological arousal while using a second language due to the constant fear of being judged and assessed by outsiders (Khawaj et al., 2018). It is observed that apprehension of learning the English language is a result of the personal beliefs of the learner, the teacher and the society at large (Krishnamoorthy, 2019). Apprehension for English Language and Nursing Education To confront the new challenges in the healthcare setting, employers worldwide are looking for competent nurses in dealing with international standards. Hence, the need to improve English language proficiency and take appropriate steps to minimize apprehension for learning the language among nursing students. Further, many studies conducted worldwide have proven that apprehension for learning English remains one of the most dominant anxieties even at undergraduate levels of study (Palaleo & Srikrajang, 2018). A research study conducted among nursing students in an Iranian university tested for apprehension using an Anxiety Scale (Amiri & Ghonsooly, 2015). The results revealed that apprehension for the English language remained at the topmost fears among nursing students, and it seemed to have a tremendous impact on their academic performance). Another study conducted among eight nursing students at a Taiwanese university revealed that apprehension for the English language remained a massive problem among all the nursing students interviewed and it had become a significant barrier for their professional growth (Wang, 2009). Improving English Language Proficiency among Nursing Students It is observed that nurses with better linguistic compe-tency are given priority in the international context. Therefore, it has become essential for nursing students to improve their language proficiency. It will make them potential beneficiaries while applying for foreign job opportunities. On the contrary, lack of such competency has the potential to become a primary cause for potential health risks for patients due to issues related to miscommunications and social misunderstandings. Hence, improving language proficiency will potentially benefit the well-being of both the patient and the nurses. With globalization, a commendable level of English language proficiency is a must to maintain standards of professionalism. As English is the primary medium of communication among people in the international context, the English language proficiency of nursing students is a significant concern. Hence, it is essential to assess apprehension for learning the English language among nursing students and provide them with the necessary motivation and training to overcome their apprehension. It will facilitate them to follow higher education and seek advancement in their career with great ease. This would, in turn, lead to a better quality of service provided for the patients. Moreover, acquiring new knowledge and providing internationally standardized healthcare for patients. However, when it comes to the Sri Lankan context, strategies implemented to enhance knowledge of and competencies in the English language among nursing students are very few. Therefore, apprehension for learning the English Language among nursing students in the Sri Lankan context remains an unaddressed issue, and this has become a considerable barrier to evidence-based nursing practice. Furthermore, although several studies have been conducted to explore the phenomenon of apprehension for learning the English Language among nursing students worldwide, there is a dearth of similar studies conducted in the Sri Lankan context. Therefore, it is necessary to examine apprehension for learning the English language among nursing students in Sri Lanka along with associated factors. Findings of such studies can be utilized for policy planning and initiating well-designed programmes to improve the English language competency of nursing students in Sri Lanka. Furthermore, it will also empower and increase the nursing students‘ self-confidence as it will open the doors for internationalism to pursue further studies and explore more knowledge.
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