An Analysis of the English Language Needs of Medical Professionals Within the Saudi Context: An Exploratory Study in Light of Covid-19 Pandemic

Misfer Ali Hasan Azzhrani, Ahmed Alghamdi


This study, based on explanatory sequential, mixed methods, descriptive research design, was conducted at eleven hospitals and medical centers in the city of Makkah in the Western Province in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). The study aimed at exploring the efficacy of the current ESP courses at Saudi tertiary institutes and whether those courses meet the needs of the medical professionals with regards to medical English language proficiency. In addition, the study explored the needs of English medical language proficiency during an international crisis such as the recent corona virus (covid-19) pandemic. The quantitative and qualitative primary data collection was gathered from the medical professionals' responses to a custom designed, twenty-nine items on a psychometric five-point Likert items and open-ended questions, questionnaire. The overall sample population of the medical professional participants in this study was 315 participates (130 male and 185 female participants). The gathered quantitative data from the questionnaire was statistically analysed and the qualitative data gathered from the three open ended questions was analysed for emergent codes using open coding and eventually forming overarching themes. The findings of the study indicated that medical professionals in KSA regard English medical language proficiency as a vital necessity for the profession, especially during an international crisis requiring global communication and cooperation. Furthermore, the majority of the participants indicated that they are not satisfied with the current English language courses provided on the undergraduate level since they felt that rigid and comprehensive English for Specific Purposes (ESP) courses with designated focus on medical English to meet their English language needs are required. Suggestions and emphasis with regards to the provision of medical ESP at tertiary level institutions in KSA are given and possible recommendations for further research investigations in future are also given.

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Copyright (c) 2020 Misfer Al Azzhrani, Ahmed Alghamdi

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