Filipino English in American Healthcare

Rey Palmares
April 10, 2018

America has always been regarded as a melting pot of many cultures. Starting from the food they eat to the clothes they wear and the ideas they wake up with each morning, America is a mixture of all these unique things in one specific place in a specific point in time. How these are transmitted exactly is through the language of English – considerably the Lingua Franca of the 21st century.

In the medical field, the same language is needed to pull together an assortment of healthcare practitioners from all walks of life. It must be said for emphasis: individuals in the profession of medicine must necessarily be able to effectively communicate with one another simply because various native dialects can get in the way of work.

In the Philippines, we Filipinos take pride in our English literacy rate. While Filipinos are certainly no native speakers of the language, studies in 2015 done by the Philippine Daily Inquirer (an accredited and highly regarded newspaper) found that about 70% of all Filipinos have an English literacy rate of 94%. This ranks the Philippines between the 3rd to 6th most English literate country in the world.

What exactly contributes to those numbers?

Historically,it all began with the Philippines being a close ally of the United States of America. Throughout much of the 20th century, the two nations have been working closely side by side in both the domestic and the international field. From expert advice on economic and political addresses to military tactics and emergency aid, the USA has been a big brother to the Philippines as the latter has transitioned into a country of its own. We must also consider that from movies, to lifestyle, and the latest music, Filipinos are just as tuned in to the these cultural appendices as their own. Filipino schools teach English as a second language to children as young as 5 years old. The same education can begin at home at an even much younger age. This is coupled with most Filipinos’ dreams of living abroad in the USA, Canada, or some parts in Europe.

All this has contributed to the incredible literacy rate that has made Filipinos so adaptable to the world stage. Their skills in the technical aspects of the job would not be as appreciable if Filipinos were not as communicatively effective. What gives them the edge over the international competition is their command of the global language of English – and in professions as precise and pressuring as that of medicine, effective communication becomes an indispensable requirement in every single transaction. Filipinos are brought up with the will and skill to learn the language and be so professionally proficient that their skills are likewise noticed by the international community.


Writing should be one part informative and one part entertaining. It's what differentiates a generic piece of text from a well-written article. Rey Palmares dedicates much of his time to fine-tune that craft, juggling the joys and frustrations of writing with those of his law school life outside of the office. He's making it work so far.