Say what? The importance of breaking down medical jargon for your patients

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Say what? The importance of breaking down medical jargon for your patients

This article is intended to help doctors understand the importance of mastering familiar language when learning French and English.

Assimilating familiar language and expressions is one the most critical elements of learning a new language. If patients don’t understand their diagnosis, their treatment plan or how to take their medications, their visit with a physician isn’t likely to lead to recovery or better health.

Therefore our courses have as a target to teach physicians to communicate more effectively with patients in order to de-jargonize their language by using common words and phrases instead of complex medical terms and acronyms.

Our method is focused on helping the doctor communicate with the patient and it is oriented towards the doctor’s learning objectives by providing language practice like doctor-patient role-plays and verbal communication classes. We elaborate various types of exercises in order to help the doctor interact easily with patients.

The importance of role-play in learning a new language

Throughout the years our language trainers have observed that in teaching medical English and medical French, speaking with patients in plain language is a crucial skill doctors need to acquire.

Doctors sometimes struggle with explaining medical concepts to patients in a way that does not seem too technical. During our classes we often do doctor-patient role-plays in which doctors are asked to explain a procedure to a patient in plain words. Consequently, the doctor and the language trainer will review the role-play. The trainer’s main objective is to discuss how the doctor can improve their skills.

4 steps to help doctors learn easier

We do the following exercises to improve medical conversation with patients:

  1. We practise together. We encourage doctors to practise explaining a medical procedure, such as colonoscopy, to our language trainer.
  2. We teach synonyms in order to enlarge their vocabulary. During the role-play exercises the language trainer helps the doctor repeat some sentences using slightly less technical terminology.
  3. We train doctors how to use analogies that are more easily understood and identified by the patient. For example, we advise doctors when explaining otitis media to a 9-year-old boy to compare the infected serous fluid in his ear to stagnant water in his aquarium when it hasn’t been cleaned.
  4. We help doctors in learning how to discuss medical pathologies and our language trainer will give you medical topics of discussion in order to help you communicate with ease and fluently.