Common English Usage for Professional Nurses

Common English Usage for Professional Nurses

For all nurses, competence in English is now considered a major necessity. Today, hospitals, healthcare centers recruit nurses who are good at English. If you have graduated with a good score but you do not possess any command over this language then you may not have the chance to explore great career opportunities in countries like Australia, Canada etc. In today’s article, we have listed down some of the essentials of English for nurses.

Nurses are the first people who a patient or the relatives of the patient may meet before they see their doctor. It would be the responsibility of the nurses to carry out general assessment process, ask questions to collect the most relevant information, diagnose the symptoms, write the case sheets, deliver the reports or make the patient ready for consultation or take any other immediate action. During this, interaction should be more professional. It ought to be clear without any glitches. Remember, poor language can become a great barrier can lead to bad results.

How to assess?

Listed down are a few of the common questions which nurses should know of or they should ask when they are talking to the patient. Be polite and be very calm when you are talking to your patients or any of their kith or kin.

Nurses can begin as follows:

  • I would like to ask a few questions.
  • I just want to ask a few questions.
  • I would like to interview you.
  • I would like to know some basic details about you.
  • Please, allow me to ask some basic questions.
  • Let me assess your health condition.
  • First, I need to assess your health condition.


Taking common details:

  • Can you please, tell me your name first?
  • What is your name?
  • What is your first name / second name / surname etc?
  • How old are you? What is your age?
  • Can I get your address, please? What is your address? Where do you live?
  • What is your phone number? Your contact number, please. Do you have a mobile phone number?
  • Are you married? Do you have health insurance?
  • What is your profession? What do you do for a living? What is your job? What is your title? Where do you work? What do you do?
  • Can I get the name of next of kin? Who is your next of kin?
  • Can you tell me about the problem you are facing? What brings you to our hospital?
  • Have you ever been immunized? (For instance, have you ever got polio immunization?)


More about symptoms / the dimensions of symptoms

Following sentences can be more helpful when you talk to patients about symptoms.

Generally, nurses can ask these questions:

  • How would you describe your condition?
  • What are the problems you are facing?
  • Do you feel pain? Where do you feel the pain?
  • Does this pain move around?
  • What is this pain like?
  • How would describe this pain?
  • Is it aching?
  • Is it dull?
  • Is it sharp?
  • Is it stabbing?
  • When did it last?
  • When did you feel it last?
  • Do you still feel the pain?
  • How would you rate what you feel now on a scale of 1-10?
  • Does this pain interfere with your usual activities?
  • When did you first feel it?
  • When did you first notice it?
  • Does this occur frequently?
  • How long does it last?
  • Do you feel pain in particular place or does it occur only on certain circumstances?
  • Are you taking anything for it?
  • Have you taken anything for it before?



Some of the common questions related to examination are given below:

  • Please, show me your tongue.
  • Please, put out your tongue.
  • Let me check your eyes.
  • Let me check your pulse.
  • Please, raise your eyebrows.
  • Please, frown your forehead, Please, smile.
  • Can you flex your neck?
  • Can you shrug your shoulders?
  • Please, bend your neck with ears toward your right shoulder / left shoulder.
  • Please, close your eyes tightly.
  • Puff your cheeks.
  • Let me measure your BP.
  • I am going to count your pulse.
  • Let me check your respiration.
  • Let me measure your temperature.
  • Please, insert this thermometer into your armpit.
  • Please, put this thermometer into your mouth.

Take a look at these following medical terms too which can be very helpful for you.

The use of words such as dull, sharp, stabbing etc. are very common.

Bounding, Patient’s chart, Dyspnoea, Expectorate, Expiration, Inspiration, Respiration, Pulse rate, Tension beats per minute, Bradycardia, Tachycardia, Sputum etc.

During your OET Course, you learn more about English for Nurses, OET techniques (learn all the tactics of how to gain a good score at your OET). OET preparation course with more focus on English Language Training and Enhancement can certainly lead to better results.

About the Author

Einstein College of Australia
Einstein College of Australia is a private Registered Training Organisation (RTO) and a CRICOS Provider that delivers high quality training facilities and standards for Domestic and International students. Einstein College offers a wide variety of nationally accredited courses to students including English, Business, Aged Care and Community Services. Our programs are designed and delivered to equip our students with the knowledge and skills to apply their learning to new situations, to work cooperatively and to sustain lifelong learning.