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Endorsement drives spike in Medical Terminology course enrolments


Mater Education’s online Medical Terminology course has seen a large spike in enrolments after receiving endorsement from two interpreter associations— National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters (NAATI) and Australian Institute of Interpreters and Translators (AUSIT).

NAATI assigned Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points to the course and AUSIT has promoted the course through its networks, resulting in a surge in enrolments—going from an average of four enrolments per month to 25 new enrolments in August this year.

The self-directed 60-hour online course is a core requirement across six offerings in Mater Education’s health suite, providing an essential foundation for people in the healthcare industry.

“It’s a fantastic course for anyone who wants to understand the health sector and get that basic understanding and terminology of health,” Mater Director of Vocational Education and Training Barry Hankinson said.

While originally designed for Diploma of Nursing students, the course was flagged as potentially suitable for interpreters and translators during a meeting between Mater Education team members and Mater Cultural Diversity Coordinator Jennifer Ryan. Following the meeting, two of Mater’s full time interpreters—Phuong Nguyen and Ling Ling Holloway—conducted an extensive review of the course to assess its suitability.

“Our interpreters accessed the program and thought it was truly beneficial, so they promoted it to their networks,” Barry said.

“They passed their review on to NAATI and AUSIT, complete with notes and recommendations. AUSIT promoted the course and NAATI credited the course with CPD points.”

Phuong, a long-term Vietnamese Interpreter at Mater, said the course provides valuable knowledge in a structured format that she deemed useful for interpreters and translators in the healthcare industry.

“As interpreters, we are language people—we often don’t have a medical background. So, in order to be a good health interpreter, we need to study to have a bit of background knowledge.

“The course is very helpful for interpreters because it provides a structured way of learning. Without the course, you learn bits and pieces here and there and it’s like a puzzle. But with the course, you can learn all this information quickly and it’s tied together in a structured way,” Phuong said.

“I’ve been at Mater for 18 years. When I started there was no such course, so I had to learn on the job. If you do the course properly and invest your effort, it will save you years of learning all these things ad hoc.”

Since being endorsed by the interpreter associations, the course has attracted 20 enrolments in one week versus its average of 50 enrolments per year, as many interpreters have recognised the benefit of the offering.

According to Barry, the surge in enrolment speaks to the quality of the course and the power of networks.

“Our interpreters saw value in the Medical Terminology course from the perspective of their roles, so they were willing to take the next step and promote it and the end result was great,” Barry said.

“It speaks to the quality of our educational offerings. When you combine a quality offering and the power of networking, it’s quite surprising what you can achieve.

“People quite often don’t realise just how effective their networks can be. This course is a nice example of how quickly we can get the word out when we use our networks. We’ve doubled the number of students we would normally see in the year, in one fell swoop.”