Professor Diana Slade
Professor, Communication Studies Group
DipEd (London), BA (London), MA (London), PhD (Syd)
Diana Slade is Professor of Applied Linguistics. She is currently doing half time at the Department of English at Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) and half time at UTS. From 1998-2004 she was Associate Dean, Teaching and Learning in the Faculty of Education at UTS and before that she was Head of the Department of Language and Literacy at UTS. She was Chair of the UTS Teaching and Learning Committee as well as Deputy Chair of Academic Board from 1999 to 2008. Before joining UTS, in 1990, she was a lecturer on the MA program in Applied Linguistics in the linguistics Department, Sydney University for five years.
With Christian Matthiessen, Diana convened the 1st International Roundtable and Symposium on Healthcare Communication at PolyU from 14–16 March 2011. The Symposium and Roundtable brought together national and international researchers and practitioners from a range of clinical and academic disciplines to explore issues relating to healthcare communication.
Diana is also an Executive Committee member of The International Charter for Human Values in Healthcare, a collaborative effort involving people, countries, organizations and institutions around the world working together to restore core human values to healthcare.
• The description of spoken English
• Discourse analysis
• Workplace communication and culture
• Healthcare communication
The description of spoken English; healthcare communication, discourse analysis, systemic functional linguistics, culture and communication in the workplace.
Diana has over 30 years experience in researching, teaching and publishing in applied linguistics, linguistics and organisational communication. Her major research focus is on developing and extending theoretical work in these three areas, with a particular focus on the analysis and description of spoken English. Her PhD (Linguistics) and following book—Analysing Casual Conversation (with Suzanne Eggins, Equinox, 1997/2005) developed a systematic model for the analysis and description of spoken English and was shortlisted for the British Association of Applied Linguistics Book Award, 1998. Diana’s other major publications include Conversation: from Description to Pedagogy (with Thornbury, Scott 2006, Cambridge University Press), and Communicating in Hospital Emergency Departments (with Manidis M, Mcgregor J, Scheeres H, Stein-Parbury J, Dunston R, Stanton, N, Chandler E, Matthiessen C, Herke M. 2011). She has earned over $7 million in research income (cash and in-kind; including two significant grants from the Australian Research Council) and recently has led research in a number of different health care contexts, in both Australia and Hong Kong.
She is currently lead investigator on an Australian Research Council (ARC) grant (2010–2014) on Effective communication in clinical handover (ECHHo) a three year national project across 4 states of Australia. As part of this project handovers in four different states have been/will be audio and many video recorded. Detailed language analysis of the communicative dimensions of the handovers will be undertaken. Before this she was the first chief investigator on an ARC Linkage (2007–2010) entitled Emergency Communication: Addressing the challenges in health care discourses and practices. The research involved 1093 hours of observations, 150 interviews with key staff and patients and 82 patients recorded from triage to disposition. It therefore represents one of the most comprehensive studies internationally on clinician–patient communication.
Diana is currently also the lead researcher (with Christian Matthiessen) on qualitative research projects with Tuen Mun Hospital funded by Hong Kong Polytechnic University. These research projects involving a team of PolyU academics, has three senior medical clinicians from the New Territories West Cluster as Co-Is and has involved surveying all the clinicians in the Accident and Emergency Department; interviewing key clinicians and management and audio-recording patients from triage to disposition. Diana is invited to talk around the world on different aspects of the health communication research and has presented (with different team members) over 25 papers over the last two years at conferences and seminars in the USA, Australia, Hong Kong, China, Europe and UK (see below).
Research supervision: Yes
Selected Peer-Assessed Projects
Thornbury, S. & Slade, D.M. 2006, Conversation: From description to pedagogy, 1, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge UK.
View/Download from: UTSePress
McCarthy, M. & Slade, D.M. 2007, 'Extending our Understanding of Spoken Discourse' in Jim Cummins, Chris Davison (eds), International Handbook of English Language Teaching, Springer, New York, USA, pp. 859-875.
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Brosnan, D., Scheeres, H.B. & Slade, D.M. 2000, 'Cross-cultural training in the workplace' in Griff Foley (ed), Understanding Adult Education and Training, Allen and Unwin, Sydney, pp. 206-217.
Scheeres, H.B., Slade, D.M., Manidis, M., McGregor, J. & Matthiessen, C. 2008, 'Communicating in hospital emergency departments', Prospect, vol. 23, no. 2, pp. 13-22.
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Ineffective communication has been identified as the major cause of critical incidents in public hospitals in Australia. Critical incidents are adverse events leading to avoidable patient harm. This article discusses a study that focused on spoken interactions between clinicians and patients in the emergency department of a large, public teaching hospital in New South Wales, Australia. The purpose of the study was to identify successful and unsuccessful communication encounters. It combined two complementary modes of analysis: qualitative ethnographic analysis of the social practices of emergency department healthcare and discourse analysis of the talk between clinicians and patients. This allowed the researchers to analyse how talk is socially organised around healthcare practices and how language and other factors impact on the effectiveness of communication.
Slade, D.M., Scheeres, H.B., Manidis, M., Iedema, R.A., Dunston, R., Stein-Parbury, M.J., Matthiessen, C., Herkes, G. & McGregor, J. 2008, 'Emergency Communication: the discursive challenges facing emergency clinicians and patients in emergency departments', Discourse and Communication, vol. 2, no. 3, pp. 271-298.
View/Download from: UTSePress | Publisher's site
Effective communication and interpersonal skills have long been recognized as fundamental to the delivery of quality health care. However, there is mounting evidence that the pressures of communication in high stress work areas such as hospital emergency departments (EDs) present particular challenges to the delivery of quality care. A recent report on incident management in the Australian health care system (NSW Health, 2005a) cites the main cause of critical incidents (that is, adverse events such as an incorrect procedure leading to patient harm), as being poor and inadequate communication between clinicians and patients. This article presents research that describes and analyses spoken interactions between health care practitioners and patients in one ED of a large, public teaching hospital in Sydney, Australia. The research aimed to address the challenges and critical incidents caused by breakdowns in communication that occur between health practitioners and patients and by refining and extending knowledge of discourse structures, to identify ways in which health care practitioners can enhance their communicative practices thereby improving the quality of the patient journey through the ED. The research used a qualitative ethnographic approach combined with discourse analysis of audio-recorded interactions. Some key findings from the analysis of data are outlined including how the absence of information about processes, the pressure of time within the ED, divergent goals of clinicians and patients, the delivery of diagnoses and professional roles impact on patient experiences. Finally, the article presents an in-depth linguistic analysis on interpersonal and experiential patterns in the discursive practices of patients, nurses and doctors.
Barthel, A., Hughes, C., Slade, D.M. 1987, 'Needs-based Programming and the Provision of English Language Tuition in the A.M.E.P.', Prospect, vol. 2, no. 1, pp. 171-183.