Friday, 30 September 2011

In case of emergency...

All healthcare professionals should be able to respond to most medical emergencies, even if that just means giving first aid or basic life support (BLS).   For anyone who wants to work with English speaking patients, then 'emergency medical English' should be the foundation of the communication process.

A quick and accurate patient history is vital in order to administer the right emergency treatment, and so requires a quick and systematic line of questioning.  Anyone who has got down on the floor with 'resus Annie' will know the basic question, "are you ok?" is quick and simple, but can help to determine a patients level of consciousness.  But what follows on from that?  What would you then ask someone who has sustained a head injury, or what specific questions would you ask someone with chest pain?

As a result we have developed an 'emergency medical English' course, which targets the most common medical emergencies.  At the centre of each case is a 'model dialogue' (mp3), in which you can hear a British emergency doctor taking a history.  A key component of the course is the fact that most patients will use a lot of colloquialisms, so if a patient asks, "whats wrong with me?", it's important to avoid 'professional medical English' or medical jargon, and use language that the patient will understand.  "Well, i think you're having a heart attack" is much more useful than "i think you're having a myocardial infarction".  Reassurance is vital in a medical emergency, and patients will feel reassured if they know what is happening.

The first case is cardiac chest pain.  You can download the first set of mp3 files for free from our RME resources page.  If you want free worksheets to accompany the files then contact us, all of our details are on our website.