National Healthcare Language Program Course Outlines

Listening for Nurses 

Listening for Nurses supports internationally educated nurses (IENs) in developing and enhancing the communication strategies and skills they need to listen effectively and communicate clearly with patients. Course content is based on the communication skills competencies for the CELBAN and a wide range of topics are covered.  

Minimum CLB requirement: CLB 7 

Outline 

Unit 1 – Communication Differences 

Unit 2 – Health Descriptions 

Unit 3 – Symptom Descriptions  

Unit 4 – Purposes and Assumptions 

Unit 5 – Factual and Implied Meanings 

Unit 6 – Intentions and Advice 

Unit 7 – Intonation and Preference  

Unit 8 – Attitudes and Emotions 

Unit 9 – Distractors and Word Order Patterns 

Unit 10 – Sequence and Order 

Unit 11 – Transitional and Instructional Language 

Unit 12 – Discourse Indicators 

Unit 13 – Extensive Discourse and Signaling 

Unit 14 – Critical Analysis 


The curriculum is an online self-study course, monitored by a facilitator, which includes quizzes with authentic audio and video. It is 14 weeks in length with 6 to 8 hours per week of independent study.  

Speaking for Nurses 

Speaking for Nurses supports internationally educated nurses (IENs) in developing and enhancing the communication strategies and skills they need to speak and communicate clearly with patients. Course content is based on the communication skills competencies for the CELBAN and a wide range of topics are covered.  

Minimum CLB requirement: CLB 7 

Outline 

Four lessons focus on key discussion skills 

Unit 1 – Describing & Narrating  

Unit 2 – Comparing & Contrasting 

Unit 3 – Explaining & Discussing 

Unit 4 – Giving & Expressing Opinions 

Ten lessons focus on patient/nurse interactions (role-plays) 

Unit 5 – Building Rapport 

Unit 6 – Listening Effectively 

Unit 7 – Asking Open Questions 

Unit 8 – Giving Instructions  

Unit 9 – Showing Empathy  

Unit 10 – Giving Advice 

Unit 11 – Presenting a Plan  

Unit 12 – Maintaining Confidentiality  

Unit 13 – Ending a Consultation  

Unit 14 – Being Culturally Sensitive  


Online content and discussions are supplemented by weekly online synchronous classes, where participants meet with an instructor to discuss and practice the material learned in each unit with their classmates and receive feedback from their instructor.  

Reading for Nurses 

Reading for Nurses supports internationally educated nurses (IENs) in developing and enhancing the communication strategies and skills they need to read effectively in a healthcare setting. Course content is based on the communication skills competencies for the CELBAN and a range of topics are covered.  

Minimum CLB requirement: CLB 7 


Outline 

Unit 1 – Text Types and Reading Strategies 

Unit 2 – Textual Features 

Unit 3 – Question Types and Scanning 

Unit 4 – Skimming and Reading Carefully 

Unit 5 – Vocabulary Building 

Unit 6 – Inferencing 

Unit 7 – Mood, Tone, and Attitude 

Unit 8 – Analyzing Information and Drawing Conclusions  

The curriculum is an online self-study course, monitored by a facilitator. It is 8 weeks in length with 6 to 8 hours per week of independent study.  

Writing for Nurses 

Writing for Nurses supports internationally educated nurses (IENs) in developing and enhancing the communication strategies and skills they need to write effectively and communicate clearly with patients and colleagues. Course content is based on the communication skills competencies for the CELBAN and a range of topics are covered.  

Minimum CLB requirement: CLB 6 


Outline 

Unit 1 – Effective Sentences 

Unit 2 – Audience and Purpose 

Unit 3 – Organization 

Unit 4 – Unity and Coherence  

Unit 5 – Verb Tense and Voice 

Unit 6 – Narrative Writing 

Unit 7 – Persuasive Writing 

Unit 8 – Editing and Proofreading  

The curriculum is an online self-study course, monitored by a facilitator who grades the writing assignments. It is 8 weeks in length with 6 to 8 hours per week of independent study.


Communication Strategies for Patient Interactions (CSPI) supports international medical graduates (IMGs) and international pharmacy graduates (IPGs) in developing and enhancing the communication strategies and skills they need to pass the OSCE licensure exams. Course content is based on the OSCE communication skills competencies, and a wide range of topics are covered. The course primarily focuses on listening and speaking skills. 

Minimum CLB requirement: CLB 6 

CSPI Course Outline 

Unit 1: Building Rapport 

  • Creating a Welcoming Environment 
  • Listening Effectively 

Unit 2: Conducting Patient Consultations 

  • Asking Questions 
  • Giving Instructions 

Unit 3: Understanding Patients’ Concerns 

  • Understanding Health Concerns 
  • Understanding Symptom Descriptions 

Unit 4: Showing Empathy 

  • Empathizing with Feelings 
  • Breaking Bad News (IMG), Skimming, Scanning and Summarizing (IPG) 

Unit 5: Offering Advice 

  • Giving Opinions 
  • Formulating a Plan 

Unit 6: Focusing on Ethics and Patient Recovery 

  • Practicing Ethically 
  • Encouraging Patient Involvement 

Final Practice: Communication Practice Session  

Online and classroom discussions are supplemented by a CSPI communication practice session with simulated patients for IMGs and IPGs. The session includes: 

  • Simulated patients (SPs) 
  • Multiple cases for each profession  
  • Video recording of the interactions 
  • Debriefing sessions 

This session helps IMGs and IPGs practice patient communication skills with multiple cases and SPs; receive feedback from SPs, peers, and instructors; focus on what is most important; and reduce anxiety and gain confidence.