“English is the universal language of Medicine”

The prestigious professor Jonathan McFarland will give sessions of specialist English in the Col.legi de Metges de Illes Balears ( College of Doctors Balearic Islands).

Jonathan McFarland at the COMIB







Professor Jonathan McFarland is a prestigious teacher with more than 20 years of experience in teaching English. For the last decade he has been living classes to the professionals in the hospitals Son Llatzer and Son Espases ( previously Son Dureta), with the aim that this learning experience helps the doctors to improve and develop their professional practice. Specialized in medical education McFarland comes from a family of three generations of doctors.

Jonathan McFarland states that the two “most important” areas of his training are teaching and medicine, which he combines with passion and enthusiasm in order to help health professionals with their English in the many different forms, be it the English needed to write scientific articles, give presentations or in treating patients. And he is sure that, for this, “ the key is in carrying out clinical sessions in English”, which he has doing in the hospitals Son Llatzer and Son Espases.

The success of the method of teaching English for Doctors used by professor McFarland has the particularity, according to him, of “ bringing the language to where it is needed”. He reaffirms: “ I do not teach English, but my idea consists in facilitating the learning of the language in the aspect related to their profession”. Professor McFarland insists in that he does not teach English to his students rather he tries to improve the conditions for learning.

He assures us that “ it is not possible to talk about medical English or medical terminology in general because they are different according to each individual speciality. Sometimes, an acronym has different meanings according to the particular speciality.”

In this sense, after having normally concentrated on doctors from one particular speciality McFarland believes that it is important to unite different specialities in order to exchange vocabulary and experiences.

McFarland with Dr Alfonso Ballesteros








The Patronat Científic ( Scientific Commission) for the COMIB ( College of Doctors of Balearic Islands), headed by Dr Alfonso Ballesteros, has organised a programme of medical English led by Jonathan McFarland based on weekly workshops and clinical sessions, starting in September 2013 and finishing in June 2014.

In this course the Medicine will come before the Language, as English will be the means to speak about and discuss medical topics. There will be a variety of specialities, as many as attending doctors, and thus there will be clinical sessions and presentations in English about different branches of medicine.

The Medical English course will be working on many areas including: pronuciation, vocabulary, terminology, the difference between US and GB medical English and presentations. McFarland is convenced that this course is “ a great opportunity” to acquire fluency in the handling and use of English, mainly spoken, which is essential as “ nowadays, English is the universal language of medicine”.

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Interview originally written by Juanjo Sanchez, Press Officer for COMIB and published in Salut I Forca, and translated by Jonathan McFarland.