Specialist Language Courses

SLC at the 4th International English for Healthcare Conference

I arrived back in a rain-washed Gatwick last night, reflecting on a diverse, interesting and rewarding international English for Healthcare conference. Excellent plenaries, presentations, workshops and posters along with lots of great discussions and chats over coffee, lunch, and OET-sponsored wine. The conference was well-attended and we met a truly global cross-section of Medical English teachers from across Europe, Japan, Australia and the US among others. Lots of familiar faces and plenty of new ones too.  

A particular highlight for me was Professor Elena Semino’s plenary highlighting the impact of communication on healthcare provision through two research projects, one on using visual means to describe pain and one on the use of metaphor in the understanding of treatment and cancer. Both projects inspired me to consider how we can integrate such research into our Medical English courses to add further depth and reach. One of the advantages of digital content is the ability to integrate research results and link to studies as they are published, so providing learners with rich, up-to-date content.


Between myself, Bethan and Virginia, SLC gave three sessions on teaching English to nursing students, the hows and whys of how teachers can use online content in classrooms, and the principles informing the design of SLC’s online Medical Terminology course. All the sessions were well-attended and participants appeared engaged, asking a range of interesting questions. 

It was also great to see the interest from a wide range of universities and teachers in our courses at the stand we had in the reception area. We were able to share content on the screen, describe how courses worked for students and teachers, as well as show the teacher books we have just published with answer keys, video and audio transcripts and teaching ideas. We hope that teachers got a clear sense of how the courses can be used to support and engage their students and look forward to continuing a number of conversations we started.


The venue – Jaume 1 University in Castellon, Spain – was hugely impressive. Modern, high-tech facilities, great food and lovely weather. The daily temperatures of twenty-five degrees or more certainly made a change from the previous week of autumnal rain in the UK and allowed for a very pleasant weekend in Valencia afterwards!

So, a mighty round of applause to Catherine Richards and her EALTHY team for organising an excellent, thought-provoking event. We’re already looking forward to the next one.