This article reports a study of simulated interactions between emergency medical teams, as they are used in education for specialist trainee doctors. We focus on a key area of communicative competence that trainees are assessed on: the performance of leadership skills. Using videos of simulated trauma cases recorded within a training department of a large teaching hospital in the UK, we analyse how trainee doctors delegate tasks to their teams, matching up their linguistic performance, in particular their use of requests, to how they are assessed in the simulation overall. This allows us to establish the types of linguistic leadership performance that are evaluated positively in this setting and therefore are attributed to success. Through fine-grained, qualitative analysis, we examine the interrelationship between 'efficiency', evidenced by the subsequent successful completion of an action by the team, and the the use of indirect and mitigated requests, finding that a high number of indirect forms are successfully used to make requests of others in this time-pressured setting. We discuss the theoretical implications of our observations, revisiting claims about linguistic behaviour in urgent contexts, and also consider the practical implications of the study, considering in particular professional practice and training.
Chałupnik, M., & Atkins, S. (2020). “Everyone happy with what their role is?”: A pragmalinguistic evaluation of leadership practices in emergency medicine training. Journal of Pragmatics, 160, 80-96. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pragma.2020.02.014