Ukrainian doctors graduate from English-language course at St Vincent’s hospital

St Vincent’s University Hospital in Dublin (Niall Carson/PA)
St Vincent’s University Hospital in Dublin (Niall Carson/PA)

Twenty-five Ukrainian doctors have graduated from an English-language course at St Vincent’s University Hospital (SVUH) in Dublin.

The “comprehensive course” was developed in response to the “significant language barrier” faced by Ukrainian doctors arriving in Ireland after the Russian invasion.

The initiative began in March this year to provide Ukrainian doctors with an opportunity to develop their English language abilities and confidence in the practical and immersive clinical setting of SVUH.

The eight-week English course was tailored to meet the specific needs of the participants and spanned a comprehensive curriculum designed to enhance the doctors’ proficiency in medical terminology, effective communication, and patient-centred care.

The curriculum also emphasised cross-cultural understanding and sensitivity to ensure effective communication with diverse patient populations.

Course graduate Dr Polina Smolovyk said: “This course has not only improved our language proficiency but has also instilled in us the confidence and competence to excel in our medical careers.

“We are truly grateful to St Vincent’s University Hospital for their support and guidance.”

Professor Oksana Kachurets delivered the course, which was developed by hospital consultants Dr John Holian and Professor Hugh Mulcahy.

Dr Holian said the engagement and enthusiasm throughout the course was “fantastic” and “rewarding”.

He said: “We’ve gained a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by Ukrainian doctors who want to practise medicine in Ireland.

“Ultimately, we hope this practical course will benefit them as they strive to become part of the healthcare workforce here.”

Prof Mulcahy said: “It became quite clear to us that Ukrainian doctors living in Ireland are committed to not only practising medicine in Ireland but also to helping the approximate 75,000 Ukrainian refugees who have been displaced to our country and find it difficult to access the Irish healthcare system due to language barriers.

“We are immensely proud of what these doctors have achieved since arriving in Ireland and will continue to support them throughout their medical journey here.”

Hospital chief executive Michele Tait commended the consultants for dedicating their time and expertise to setting up “this invaluable course”.

She also expressed appreciation for the participation of the Ukrainian doctors.

Ms Tait said: “We are thrilled to witness the successful completion of this English course by our talented group of Ukrainian doctors.

“By investing in their language skills and preparing them for the Professional and Linguistic Assessments Board (PLAB) test, we hope to contribute to their future success and enhance their ability to provide the best possible care to our patients as they pursue their medical careers in Ireland.”

The PLAB test is recognised by the Medical Council of Ireland and is a crucial assessment for non-EU overseas doctors seeking to practise medicine in Ireland.