Objectives: To assess whether a journal club model could improve comprehension and written and spoken medical English in a population of Chinese medical professionals. Setting and participants: The study population consisted of 52 medical professionals who were residents or postgraduate master or PhD students in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Heilongjiang University of Chinese Medicine, China. Intervention: After a three-part baseline examination to assess medical English comprehension, participants were randomised to either (1) an intensive journal club treatment arm or (2) a self-study group. At the conclusion of the 8-week intervention participants (n=52) were re-Tested with new questions. Outcome measures: The primary outcome was the change in score on a multiple choice examination. Secondary outcomes included change in scores on written and oral examinations which were modelled on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Results: Both groups had improved scores on the multiple choice examination without a statistically significant difference between them (90% power). However, there was a statistically significant difference between the groups in mean improvement in scores for both written (95% CI 1.1 to 5.0; p=0.003) and spoken English (95% CI 0.06 to 3.7; p=0.04) favouring the journal club intervention. Conclusions: Interacting with colleagues and an English-speaking facilitator in a journal club improved both written and spoken medical English in Chinese medical professionals. Journal clubs may be suitable for use as a self-sustainable teaching model to improve fluency in medical English in foreign medical professionals.
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