Adjust your language to suit the patient
Be friendly but formal
Prepare yourself to deliver bad news
Prepare yourself to deliver good news
Be measured in your approach to improve your OET score in appropriacy
Look at the notes from the following role card. Which language might you avoid using when addressing the patient? How might you rephrase it? What sort of information do you think it will be appropriate to focus on during the interaction?
“This 45-year-old patient is attending the practice after suffering a mild anterior acute myocardial infarct two weeks ago. Recovery was uncomplicated and the patient was discharged 4 days ago. He/She is now very concerned about the long-term process of recovery.”
Look at the first task relating to the notes above. How could you use formal but friendly language in order to approach this?
Find out what is worrying the patient and be reassuring. Some fatigue is to be expected; it usually takes some weeks before full energy levels return.
Look at this next task. How could you use measured language in order to express the information?
Reassure the patient that his/her concerns are appropriate. Moderate physical activity is all right two weeks after an event with a good recovery, with usually four to six weeks before attempting to return to work
Look at the following utterances, do they express good or bad news? How could they be altered to make them more appropriate?
“Your child has jaundice.”
“There have been complications with your daughter following surgery.”
“Your son is now ready for discharge.”
“You have recovered well after your heart attack.”
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Answers to help you improve your OET score
Avoid mild anterior acute myocardial infarct as this language will not be familiar to the patient, a mild heart attack would be more recognisable. Focussing on the patient’s recovery and how to maintain his/her health should be the main objective of the interaction.
Possible answers include: “Can I ask what is concerning you at the moment?” and “Of course, it’s completely natural that you would feel tired at this stage, it typically takes several weeks before your energy levels are fully restored.”
Possible answers include: “Assuming that you continue to make a good recovery, it is recommended that you commence with moderate physical activity after two weeks.” “In relation to resuming work duties, it is recommended that you wait for between four to six weeks before attempting this.”
The utterances lack expressions of empathy. Possible improvements include:
“I’m afraid that your child is currently exhibiting signs of jaundice.” (bad news)
“I’m sorry to tell you that there have been some complications following your daughter’s surgery.” (bad news)
“The good news is that your son is now fully ready for discharge.” (good news)
“It’s wonderful to see that you have recovered so well after your recent condition.” (good news)
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