English language proficiency and academic performance of Nursing Students speaking English as a second language

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Abstract

Introduction. Students who speak English as a second language (ESL) may face considerable challenges at English language universities.

Aim. To investigate the English language proficiency and academic performance of ESL bachelor’s degree nursing students.

Methods. A correlational design was used with a sample of 136 nursing students who completed a structured questionnaire on socio-demographic characteristics, variables that affect language proficiency, open questions, and English Language Acculturation Scale (ELAS) to identify their English proficiency.

Results. Forty-three percent of the participants experienced difficulty in understanding the second language in clinical practice, 68% experienced challenges in studying the second language, and 47% were embarrassed to speak English. Approximately 71% of the participants had low ELAS scores and 58% had a good grade point average (GPA). Regression analysis revealed that internal motivation, study challenge, and entrance GPA were predictors of academic performance.

Conclusions. The results suggest that students’ grades were correlated with their use of English to read and write during their studies. Thus, faculty administrators should have concrete plans for improving and monitoring the English language proficiency of students throughout their enrolment.

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