Tri-Service Nursing Team Builds Professional Language Skills in Djibouti

DJIBOUTI CITY, Djibouti - A group of military nurses and a translator from Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti outline an English medical terminology course with students at the Institut Superieur des Sciences de la Sante in Djibouti City, October 16, 2009. The group volunteered to teach key English medical terms to more than 130 students at the school to help improve their professional knowledge and access to medical research.  (U.S. Navy photo by Lieutenant Brian Badura) CJTF-HOA Photo DJIBOUTI CITY, Djibouti - A group of military nurses and a translator from Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti outline an English medical terminology course with students at the Institut Superieur des Sciences de la Sante in Djibouti City, October 16, 2009. The group volunteered to teach key English medical terms to more than 130 students at the school to help improve their professional knowledge and access to medical research. (U.S. Navy photo by Lieutenant Brian Badura)
DJIBOUTI CITY, Djibouti - U.S. Air Force Major Bonnie Bosler practices basic English words with students at the Institut Superieur des Sciences de la Sante in Djibouti City, October 16, 2009. Bosler and two other nurses from Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti volunteered to teach English medical terminology to more than 130 students studying medical professions at the institute to help improve their professional knowledge and access to medical research.  (U.S. Navy photo by Lieutenant Brian Badura) CJTF-HOA Photo DJIBOUTI CITY, Djibouti - U.S. Air Force Major Bonnie Bosler practices basic English words with students at the Institut Superieur des Sciences de la Sante in Djibouti City, October 16, 2009. Bosler and two other nurses from Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti volunteered to teach English medical terminology to more than 130 students studying medical professions at the institute to help improve their professional knowledge and access to medical research. (U.S. Navy photo by Lieutenant Brian Badura)

Three nurses from Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti (CLDJ) kicked off a new academic year, October 16, 2009, in Djibouti City by teaching more than 130 college students advanced skills in English.

The course, which the volunteer instructors are calling "Introduction to English with a Focus on Medical Terminology", is being taught for the first time at the Institut Superieur des Sciences de la Sante over the next four months.

"This course is a collaborative effort for us to share the gift of language with a group of students who are studying health care professions," said Lieutenant Commander Kimberly Taylor, who is the senior nurse at Camp Lemonnier's Expeditionary Medical Facility (EMF).

The nurses will teach groups of senior-level student nurses, lab technicians, and midwives at the institute three times a week. Each group will receive a total of four weeks of instruction. A key goal of the program is to enhance the students' ability to conduct specialized research in their given field of study.

"In medicine, English is the dominant language for much of the professional literature written around the world," said Taylor. "By helping these students understand common English medical terminology, we help to expand their ability to become highly skilled professionals for the people of Djibouti."

Discussions for the course began with the last rotation of deployed EMF personnel assigned to CLDJ in early 2009. They met with senior staff at the institute to discuss how the course could integrate with the overall curriculum offered to students.

"This is just one opportunity for me to give back to others for a profession that I really love," said U.S. Air Force Major Bonnie Bosler, aeromedical evacuation liaison officer at CLDJ. "Once this first group of students becomes familiar with what they have learned, they will be empowered to help the students who come behind them."

An Army nurse corps officer rounds out the trio of instructors from CLDJ, making this volunteer activity a true multi-service effort.

French is the language of instruction in Djiboutian schools and the primary spoken languages for most students in the course are Somali, Arabic, and Afar. Many Djiboutian students do take some English courses at the high school level, though those classes are focused on conversational English rather than advanced vocabulary in specialized areas.

The instructors are using curriculum adapted from English as a second language coursework designed at an American university.

Camp Lemonnier provides a base of operations for support services to U.S., joint and allied forces military and civilian personnel and DoD contractors supporting Commander, Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA). CJTF-HOA supports U.S. Africa Command's (AFRICOM) mission by working to strengthen partner nation and regional security capacity in the Horn of Africa.

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