ASSESSING NURSING STUDENTS’ LEARNING NEEDS IN THE COLLEGE OF HEALTH SCIENCES IN SAUDI ARABIA

H. Showail

University of Exeter (UNITED KINGDOM)
English language is a required course for the first year nursing students at the nursing collages in the Saudi Arabia Universities. The English course was proposed by the Ministry of Higher Education. The English language course is for general purposes rather than specific purposes; as a result, the nursing students’ learning needs were neglected. In the nursing collage, some English language teachers attempted to change their teaching from general English to specific English but their adjustments failed to meet nursing students’ learning needs since their teaching approach is not based on the results of a needs’ analysis (NA).

The aim of this study was to describe the perceptions that teachers and students have of the English language needs of the nursing students. Respondents included 31 first year nursing students and 5 teachers at the current nursing collage, Saudi Arabia.

The primary data was obtained by questionnaire and included participants’ attitudes about:
(1) the importance of learning English for nursing students;
(2) the most needed skills for nursing students in their studies;
(3) adjusting to use English for Nursing Purposes (ENP) as an integrated skills approach.

Then, the questionnaire was followed by interviews with two teachers and four nursing students to explore their views about their English for Academic Purposes (EAP) course and the rationales for integrating the ENP course.

The results showed that English for nursing students’ academic studies and future careers were perceived as the most important reasons for learning English in the current nursing collage. Speaking was the most needed skill among nursing students. Teachers agreed to adjust their teaching to ENP, but only after teaching Basic English skills during the first term. The nursing students are more motivated to learn the ENP course rather than EAP course. The nursing students prefer to learn English and use language in nursing areas that interest them. The study concluded by offering some implications for this study, particularly for nursing students’ learning needs in the nursing collage.