Applications of discourse analysis in medication education: A case of the oral case presentation

Kara Mariann Gilbert

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


    The oral case presentation (OCP) plays a fundamental role in the communication between health care professionals in hospital-based clinical practice, being an important means of transfer of medical information. Consequently, it offers a strategy for teaching communication skills to students on clinical placements in undergraduate medical programs. The case of an international undergraduate medical student referred for language and communication skills support is discussed. Applying principles of discourse analysis, investigation of the linguistic and rhetorical strategies employed by the student in his oral case presentations identified his communicative strengths and weaknesses, which informed the focus of explicit, contextualised feedback. Distinct features of the case presentation that emerged as important indicators of the students communicative performance included: (a) generic structure, (b) positioning and elaboration of information, (c) use of technical or specialised medical vocabulary, (d) markers of cohesive and logical development, and (e) structures of reasoning. The analysis, feedback and subsequent improvement in the students OCP performance are discussed. The application of discourse analysis in a communication skills support strategy for medical education contexts is considered.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)27 - 46
    Number of pages20
    JournalMonash University Linguistics Papers
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2009

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