The article is devoted to the consideration of modern approaches to teaching foreign medical students the Ukrainian language and to clarification in this context of the main characterological features of the competence approach. In the work the theoretical general scientific methods of cognition are used: the study of information sources, analysis, synthesis, generalization, analogy. In modern linguodidactics, different approaches to teaching Ukrainian as a foreign language are presented: communicatively oriented, activity-oriented, personality-oriented, competence-oriented. There is also a tendency to integrate approaches in the theory and practice of language education of foreign students. The use of a variety of approaches is due to the desire of scientists to focus on certain aspects of the very phenomenon of communication, and its didactic issues in order to optimize the educational process. In the field of professional medical education, where linguistic competence becomes an important condition for the professional training of a future doctor, the competent approach to language learning becomes especially relevant. Competency approach has advantages over other approaches, because in its content there is a direct orientation of training for the implementation of professional tasks. The language competence of medical professionals is defined as the ability to learn language and speech skills and use them to solve a wide range of communicative tasks. Vectors of the competent approach in preparing foreign students for medical activities in the aspect of communication are aimed at forming the main types of speech activity-listening and speaking. Such competencies manifest themselves in the part of the physician’s work, which is connected with communication with the patient, and in communication with medical colleagues and represent a system of skills of professional medical speech. The implementation of the competence approach provides the definition of methodological directions for training of foreign students. The prospects for the study include the definition of the structure of professional medical communication and the development of an optimal model for communicative skills development in foreign medical students.