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Does your English make a good impression on patients?

When talking about something as important as illness, patients expect to see a doctor, physio or therapist who has a good command of English.

Someone who speaks clearly, asks clear questions, provides clear explanations and gives clear instructions.

This is especially true for those health professionals involved in day-to-day care, such as nurses, and ongoing care, such as GPs.

Coping with mudded communication on top of the anxiety of dealing with health issues raises stress levels for everyone involved.

And patients could even begin to doubt professional knowledge and competence.

They might be more accepting of a medical specialist, perhaps a surgeon, who has weaker English skills if already convinced of his or her high reputation for professional expertise. And if it’s likely to be a short-term situation.

But in the longer term, careful listening and clear communication are vital. For instance, when dieticians and physios need to keep clients on track with better diet and exercise habits.

I remember a nurse who spoke very fast and it was difficult to understand her English. She gave direct orders very forcefully, which was the norm in her culture but not the local way. Her patients were reluctant to call her when they needed help and hung back from asking her questions.

The impression she made was less than ideal.

Does your English inspire confidence in your patients and help to confirm your competence?

For a free taste of how we can work together to get your professional English unstuck, email me.

© Christina Wielgolawski