Perceptions of the English use of college transfer nursing students in a non-english speaking city: A qualitative study

Shirley Siu Yin Ching, Dennis Foung, Lillian Weiwei Zhang, Gwendoline Yuanyuan Guan, Kin Cheung (Corresponding Author)

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


There has been limited research on nursing students’ (NSs) language problems conducted in non-English speaking countries, especially research focusing on college transfer students. The purpose of this study was to explore the perceived needs and challenges of English use by college transfer NSs in a non-English speaking environment. A descriptive study design was adopted. Forty-five college transfer NSs from a university in Hong Kong participated in the study. Sixteen interviews were conducted. A qualitative content analysis was performed. Two main categories were identified: (a) Perceptions about English use (three sub-categories: (i) significance of having a good command of English; (ii) challenges in use of English; and (iii) low motivation and need to learn English), and (b) using English in nursing contexts (two sub-categories: (i) challenges in the use of English in nursing and (ii) improving English proficiency as a second priority in nursing students). In conclusion, college transfer NSs face challenges in general and discipline-specific English use, but their motivation to improve their English proficiency was not strong. Language centers should re-design the language courses to meet NSs’ communication needs, while nursing educators should provide opportunities for students to strengthen their English use in research and clinical situations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number462
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jan 2020


  • College transfer students
  • Cultural context
  • Motivation
  • Non-native english speakers
  • Nursing
  • Qualitative study
  • Use of english

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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