English for Doctors: How and Where Improve It

Why do medical professionals need to learn English? The answer is simple: knowledge of English enables students of medical universities to continue their studies abroad or undergo an internship in their specialty in a foreign clinic, work abroad. Medical English involves developing general speaking skills and the analysis of highly specialized lexical material and grammatical structures.

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How to Improve Medical English

Medical English will allow you to fully and freely communicate with American and English colleagues and patients. It is better to study English for doctors by checking all kinds of communication scenarios between doctors and patients, practicing dialogues with an English tutor. The English course should be based on the mix of lexical and grammatical material within a training program that simulates real-life situations. Medical professionals who study English need to practice language skills ranging from compiling a medical history, examining a patient, ending with communicating with a patient, prescribing and describing a course of treatment. They also need to know how to deliver bad or good news to the patient, taking into account the mentality and way of thinking of English-speaking citizens of foreign countries.

English Proficiency Exam

Each doctor has to learn their English proficiency level. The United States Medical Licensing Examination is an all-American medical examination for competence in two broad divisions of knowledge: Basic Science and Clinical Science. Each one is submitted within two days, two sessions a day, more than one hundred questions per session.

All questions belong to the multiple-choice category, and one question with five answer options, on average, less than a minute, is given to answer one question. You must score at least seventy-nine conditional points out of a hundred possible to pass the exam. The last and the third exam is the Clinical Skills Assessment, an objective exam with actual patients. You need to be confident in your professional competencies and speak English at a high level to pass the qualifying exam successfully.


English for Specific Purposes (ESP) is a section of language teaching that focuses on specific professions and the types of language they use. It is essential to work with a teacher who understands how English is used in your workplace -–preferably a teacher with experience in the healthcare system.

Resources for Medical English


  • Virginia Allum. Compilation of videos for doctors and nurses on talking to a patient, looking after him. You will learn many useful phrases in English with the help of these videos;
  • English for medicine. It is a playlist of videos from different authors on medical topics. It will be handy for people just starting to learn medical terms: many videos are straightforward, and the authors speak at a relatively slow pace;
  • It is a platform with a vast number of severe and complex medical videos. The site requires registration, but it’s free, so don’t be confused by that and not recommended for viewing by faint-hearted people.


  • com. Podcasts for pediatricians. Some compelling cases from medical practice are analyzed and practical advice on the treatment of patients.
  • com. Unusually short podcasts that raise controversial medical issues;
  • bmj.com. Podcasts created for medical students and medical practitioners. They cover various cases from medical practice, discuss innovations and research.


  • gov. This site was created for patients, not doctors, but we recommend that you pay attention to it. They talk in relatively simple words about diseases and their symptoms, medications. Read the articles on this site and later move on to more complex materials if your English level is not yet very high;
  • com is a great online journal for healthcare professionals with pretty simple words. There are also funny comics, e-books, and videos of medical topics.
  • news-medical.net is a similar publication where information about medical discoveries and research is presented in simple terms.

Wrap Up

You have everything you need to be productive in your medical English now, so you can start studying independently. Choose courses with a teacher if you find it challenging to do it alone and get an experienced mentor’s help.

You also have to remember that medical English is more complex than the basic one, so it is essential to study it properly.

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