Wednesday Seminar: Interaction in Norwegian between Polish L2-physicians and their L1 patients in specialized healthcare in Norway

Magdalena Solarek-Gliniewicz (Doctoral Research Fellow, MultiLing) will discuss her PhD research on communication between Polish physicians and their patients in Norway

Magdalena Solarek-Gliniewicz

Magdalena Solarek-Gliniewicz

This is a closed event.


My PhD project focuses on patterns in communication between Polish physicians using Norwegian as L2 and their (L1) Norwegian-speaking patients. Polish physicians have reported experiencing language barriers during their consultations and in order to improve the communication, they employ a range of strategies. This project investigates which communicative strategies physicians adopt by examining their conversations (within CA) and conducting qualitative interviews with the physicians.

Most of the previous studies conducted in Norway focused on the patient’s perspective in the consultation (Kale et al., 2018) and on interaction in primary healthcare in Norway (Czapka& Sagbakken, 2016; Stachowski & Rye, 2017). Some investigated challenges that international doctors meet when they start working in a foreign country. For example, Skjeggestad (2018) studied how international physicians deal with the new language situation in Norway and Kahlin et al. (2018) looked at how Polish physicians participated in Swedish language learning and how they used the language while working in Sweden.   

In my talk, I will present my research questions and possible hypotheses as a starting point for my work. Furthermore, I will introduce my plans for data collection and the choice of method. I will especially focus on the language requirements that Polish physicians need to fulfil to be able to work in the Norwegian specialized healthcare. For specialised physicians arriving to Norway from EU/EES countries, it is the employer’s responsibility to check if their knowledge of Norwegian is sufficient for patient consultations. Because my informants work in hospitals located in different parts of Norway, it is valuable to investigate what influences hospital authorities’ assessments of future employees’ command of Norwegian.  In my presentation, I will present in-progress results of my research on models for clinical communication used in Poland and in Norway. Typically, Polish patients are used to doctor-centered model of communication (Zembala, 2015), whereas patients in Norway often expect a patient-centred model of communication (Gulbrandsen & Finset, 2019; Lian, 2008). My aim is to compare how teaching clinical communication for medical students in Norway (Vågan & Aasland, 2011; Gude et al. 2021) and in Poland (Konopka et al., 2019) is organised and how the different communication models can influence Polish physicians when working at a Norwegian hospital.


Czapka, Elżbieta Anna & Sagbakken, Mette. (2016). Where to find those doctors?. A qualitative study on barriers and facilitators in access to and utilization of health care services by Polish migrants in Norway. BMC Health Services Research. doi: 16. 10.1186/s12913-016-1715-9.

Gude, T., Vaglum, P., Anvik, T., Bærheim, A., Fasmer, O.B., Grimstad, H., Holen, A. (2021).  Undervisning i klinisk kommunikasjon kan bli enda bedre. Tidsskriftet for Den norske legeforening. doi: 10.4035/tidsskr.20.0931

Gulbrandsen, P., Finset, A. (2019). Skreddersydde samtaler - en veileder i medisinsk kommunikasjon”. Oslo: Gyldendal Akademisk.

Kahlin, L., Tykesson, I., Romanitan, M.  (2018). Methods for Studying Migrant Doctors’ Transition to a New Language. In: Explorations in Ethnography, Language and Communication : Capturing Linguistic and Cultural Diversities / [ed] Hållsten, Stina & Nikolaidou, Zoe, Huddinge: Södertörns högskola, p. 101-125

Kale, E., Hjelde, K., Gele, A. (2018).  A scoping review study on mental health challenges of immigrants to Norway. The European Journal of Public Health.

Konopka M.N.,  Feleszka , W., Małecki, Ł. (2018). Komunikacja medyczna dla studentów i lekarzy. Kraków: Medycyna praktyczna.

Landmark, A. M. Dalby (2016). Negotiating patient involvement in treatment decision making. A conversation analytic study of Norwegian hospitals encounters. Phd thesis. Oslo: University of Oslo.

Lian, O.S. (2008). Pasienten som kunde. I A. Tjora (red). Den moderne pasienten. Oslo: Gyldendal Akademisk.

Stachowski, J & Rye, J. F. (2017). Transnasjonale helsepraksiser. Bruk av helsetjenester blant polske arbeidsinnvandrere i Norge. Nordisk Tidsskrift for Helseforskning 13 (1). doi:

Vågan, A., Aasland, O. (2011). Legesentrert og pasientsentrert klinisk kommunikasjon blant leger utdannet før og etter Oslo96- reformen.iMichael 2011; 8; 317-28.

Zembala, A. (2015). Modele komunikacyjne w relacjach lekarz-pacjent. Zeszyty naukowe Towarzystwa Doktorantów Uniwersytetu Jagiellonskiego. Nauki Ścisłe,11 (2)/ 2015, 35-50.


Magdalena Solarek-Gliniewicz joined MultiLing in November 2020. Her PhD project focuses on communication between Polish doctors and Norwegian-speaking patients. She will research on language barriers Polish doctors encounter during their consultations, and try to find strategies and patterns they use and create in different hospitals all over the country. She is a part of Nor-Pol project, and she will use methods like CA and qualitative interviews.

Magdalena earned her Master’s degree in Norwegian Language Studies at the University of Adam Mickiewicz in Poznan, Poland and continued her education in Polish-Norwegian Interpretations in Public Sector at OsloMet. After her studies, she taught Norwegian on intensive courses for health personnel and worked as a lector of Norwegian at the University of Social Sciences and Humanities in Warsaw. In addition she has worked as a Polish-Norwegian interpreter at Oslo University Hospital.


Published May 10, 2021 1:44 PM - Last modified May 10, 2021 1:44 PM