Frameworks for clinical communication assist educators in making explicit the principles of good communication and providing feedback to medical trainees. However, existing frameworks rarely take into account the roles of culture and language in communication, which can be important for international medical graduates (IMGs) whose first language is not English. This article describes the collaboration by a medical educator, a discourse analyst, and a phonetician to develop a communication and language feedback methodology to assist IMG trainees at a Victorian hospital in Australia with developing their doctor–patient communication skills. The Communication and Language Feedback (CaLF) methodology incorporates a written tool and video recording of role-plays of doctor–patient interactions in a classroom setting or in an objective structured clinical examination (OSCE) practice session with a simulated patient. IMG trainees receive verbal feedback from their hospital-based medical clinical educator, the simulated patient, and linguists. The CaLF tool was informed by a model of language in context, observation of IMG communication training, and process evaluation by IMG participants during January to August 2009. The authors provided participants with a feedback package containing their practice video (which included verbal feedback) and the completed CaLF tool.
The CaLF methodology provides a tool for medical educators and language practitioners to work collaboratively with IMGs to enhance communication and language skills. The ongoing interdisciplinary collaboration also provides much-needed applied research opportunities in intercultural health communication, an area the authors believe cannot be adequately addressed from the perspective of one discipline alone.