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Healthcare Communication

Healthcare facilities need more than doctors and nurses to succeed in helping others. Healthcare communication is a growing field of work. Specifically for those who understand the language of the medical world. Whether it's internal or external communication, hospitals can use your skills to help them communicate daily.

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Program Overview

Classes for this emphasis introduce medical terminology to effectively understand hospital literacy. You’ll become a valued communicator in the medical field. By taking your skills to the healthcare industry, you’ll make a difference by giving people of all kinds a voice.

What You'll Learn

Through this emphasis, you’ll learn and understand medical terminology, public policy, community health, and plenty of other aspects you can take with you into the workforce.

What You Can Do With A Healthcare Communications Degree

With a healthcare communication emphasis, you’ll leave Dordt prepared to make an immediate impact in the healthcare industry. You may learn to represent a hospital through public relations. You may focus internally on improving training and communication in a healthcare system.

Whatever the case, Dordt’s healthcare communication emphasis will give you a foundation you can put to use immediately and successfully.


A Reporter is responsible for keeping the public updated with current events and news.

Physician Liaison

A Physician Liaison represents a physician or practice and helps develop relationships between different providers.

Advocacy Manager

An Advocacy Manager oversees the implementation of different strategies and plans of the organization.

Students who choose the healthcare communication emphasis will complete a variety of courses from the communication, business administration, biology, health and performance, nursing, and other programs, in addition to completing the general requirements for a communication degree.

These classes will prepare students to write and talk about different aspects of healthcare either as a reporter or as a worker for a healthcare company. As a part of this emphasis, students will practice what they are learning by performing an internship, performing an individual study project, participating in debates, or writing for the Diamond, Dordt's student newspaper.

  • Small Group Communication: A study of the theory and practice of group problem-solving in cooperative face-to-face discussion; the development of awareness and understanding of group dynamics, and the presentation of panel, symposium, and dialogue.
  • Listening: In this course, we have the opportunity to explore the important topic of listening. In particular we will study concepts, problems, and responsibilities in the communication field of listening. We will focus on the Christian perspective regarding the ethical responsibility for listening and improving listening skills. Dietrich Bonhoeffer states, “The first service one owes to others in the community involves listening to them. Just as our love for God begins with listening to God’s Word, the beginning of love for other Christians is learning to listen to them.”
  • Emerging Media: In this course, we explore technology’s role and influence in media, communication, and faith. Through the study of communication theories, marketing techniques, entertainment vocabulary, technology applications, and Scripture, we will consider social change at various levels (from the individual to the world). Students will use digital communications tools creatively to apply practical concepts to organizational settings, professional roles, and special areas of interest.
  • Public Relations: As an introduction to public relations, this course will set the background for additional courses in communication and business administration. After a study of the history of public relations, students will learn what is expected of public relations workers, study the various publics, become familiar with current problems and issues in public relations, analyze several cases, and develop a Christian perspective for the continued study of public relations.
  • Cross-Cultural Communication: This course explores a variety of cross-cultural and intercultural communication experiences. Students will explore the concept of culture and examine the relationship of culture and communication to build a framework for studying cross-cultural communication patterns from a variety of representative cultures (including North American culture). Special emphasis will be given to the influence of worldview, ethnic identity, and socialization on the process of communication. Overall, this course is designed to help you appreciate and understand different forms of communication and begin to develop a Christian perspective for the differences and relationships between cultures.
  • Principles of Marketing: A study of marketing institutions, product development, channels of distribution, price determination, promotion methods, government influences, and ethical problems facing marketing personnel. Includes a foundational study and discussion of business from a Christian perspective.
  • Public Relations Writing: This course is, above all, a writing course. Focused on public relations writing that serves overall organizational goals, the course readings and assignments allow students opportunities to further develop their writing, research, and critical thinking skills and creativity in one of the most culture-shaping industries.
  • Business and Technical Writing: Students will study the process, application, and characteristics of business and technical writing, and the way in which writing style, strategies, content, and clarity will relate practically to one’s profession. Concentrates on developing competence in a variety of writing tasks commonly performed in business, law, industry, social work, engineering, agriculture, and medicine. Satisfies Core Program writing-intensive requirement.
  • Advanced Public Address: An emphasis upon proper speech construction and delivery with application of communication concepts. Includes analysis of some public addresses.
  • Argumentation and Persuasion: After a study of the history of argumentation and persuasion and the relationship of argumentation and persuasion, this course will focus on various theories of attitude change, the structure of argument, and the development of a Christian perspective. Applications of argument and persuasion to be considered are: propaganda, advertising, political campaigns, and political debate. The student will be expected to apply the course studies to his/her specific vocational decisions.
  • Diamond Workshops: This workshop provides hands-on practical experience working as a team on the campus newspaper and website, the Diamond. Joining the staff of the student-led publication offers opportunities to apply multimedia storytelling and design skills learned in class, hone deadline-reporting expertise, and develop management and leadership abilities. This workshop is required of all journalism majors and may be completed for credit up to four times.
  • Forensics: Forensics includes individual events and debate for the continued development of public speaking skills. Active participation involves weekly practice and coaching, as well as formal evaluation in a collegial, competitive environment at regional tournaments. Graded on a pass/no record basis.
  • Dordt Media Network: Dordt Media Network strives to obediently communicate God’s unfolding creation, equipping and encouraging viewers to live according to His Word. Students apply for 1-3 hours of academic credit for work with the Dordt Media Network in two areas: video production and live stream/remote broadcast production. Registration for credit is required in the semester in which you are on the Dordt Media Network team. Student work will include producing promotional videos for the university and sports highlight videos of Defender athletic events. In addition students can work on the live stream/remote broadcast team as camera operators, graphic, replay and audio operators.
  • Communication Internship: A supervised work experience in the areas of communication, public relations, journalism, digital media, or with the Digital Media Network designed to provide the student with the opportunity to apply principles and skills gained through coursework. Open to all communication students.
  • Individual Studies: Communication Studies students will be expected to take a two-credit communication individual study to create an interest-centered project that applies the communication principles they have been studying.
  • Medical Terminology: The course is designed for students in pre-health professions and secretarial science–medical emphasis. Students will learn medical terminology and its meaning within the context of the healing professions. Programmed texts and computer software will be used with regular testing periods throughout the semester.
  • Human Biology I: Spring An overview of the structure and function of the human body, using an experimental approach. Addresses how worldview impacts the use of one’s own body and guides ethical decision-making. Cadaver lab exercises will be included. Three lectures and one laboratory per week. For nursing, HHP, and other non-biology majors.
  • Personal and Public Health: This course examines the physical, mental, social, emotional, spiritual, and occupational dimensions of health. Emphasis is on the utilization of health information in making good health choices.
  • Introduction to Nursing Practice: This course introduces nursing majors to the practice of nursing as they explore nursing as a verb and a noun. As the student explores their vocation as a Christian nurse, foundational concepts studied include caring, compassionate accompaniment, and advocacy. Students are introduced to nursing’s scope of practice and ethics in health care.
  • Professionalism in Nursing Practice: This course focuses on concepts of professionalism in nursing practice to include confidentiality, health information security, and patient rights. The concept of professionalism is deconstructed. Additional concepts include formal and informal professional relationships, interdisciplinary interactions, communication and collaboration among individuals, groups, as well as patients and their families. Students are introduced the processes of grief, dying, and death. Included are interrelationships among legal and ethical directives in health care. Through reflection, student’s self-awareness as part of God’s creational structure and their personal response is constructed.
  • Public Policy: Provides a general introduction to the public policy process in the United States, including an exploration of the socioeconomic and cultural context, the defining characteristics of the political system, and various phases in the policy process. Special attention is given to selected policy issues such as energy and the environment, criminal justice, poverty, health care, and immigration.
  • Introductory Statistics: An introductory course in statistical techniques and methods and their application to a variety of fields. Topics include data analysis, design of experiments, and statistical inference including confidence intervals and hypothesis testing. Exposure to statistical software and a substantive student project are also part of this course.

See the course catalog for more information.

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