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Going to the Doctor - Part 1

Going to the Doctor - Part 1


Alternative flash content


Going to the doctor: 1

Hello! Today we will practice the English for going to the doctor.
Most large doctor's offices have several counters or desks that you will see when you enter.

You will announce your arrival at a desk or counter which says "Reception", "Check-in", "Registration" or perhaps your doctor's name. Go to the counter or desk, give your name, and tell the time of your appointment and the name of your doctor. For example, Jennifer might say "My name is Jennifer Jones. I have an appointment with Dr. Kane at 2:00.".

If this is your first time at this doctor's office, the receptionist might ask you to fill out some forms. There might be a health history form, a form which explains your rights as a patient, and some insurance forms. Since you will have to be prepared to fill out all these forms at the doctor's office, take your insurance cards or numbers with you, and take along any health information that you have. After you fill out the forms, the receptionist will invite you to have a seat in a waiting area. "Please sit down there." or "You can wait there." or "Take a seat and someone will be with you.".

It is likely that a nurse will come to the door of the waiting room and call your name. You will be escorted to the examining area.
In this scenario, the nurse has escorted Jennifer from the waiting area to the scale, and is directing her to get on the scale.

Nurse: Can I get a height and weight, please?

Jennifer: Okay, sure.

Nurse: Step on the scale. … ok … Let's go into Room 2.
(going to Examining Room 2)

Nurse: You can take a seat. … Why are you here today?

Jennifer: I've had a headache and sore throat.

Nurse: How long have you have the headache?

Jennifer: A couple days.

Nurse: And the sore throat?

Jennifer: Also a couple days.

Nurse: Can I get a temp? Hold this under your tongue. (Getting BP equipment ready)

Jennifer: Hmm.

Nurse: Let's get your BP. (checking BP)

Jennifer: Okay.

Nurse: (handing gown to Jennifer) The doctor will be in shortly.

Jennifer: Thank you.

Now that we have heard the dialog between Jennifer and the nurse, let us examine more closely the sentences they used.

It is usual that the nurse will ask you to step on a scale to be weighed. The nurse said "Can I get a height and weight?". Other possible ways of saying this might be "Let's get your weight." or Why don’t you hop on the scale." or "Step on the scale, please.". Most people cooperate and get on the scale, but it is acceptable to say, "No, I don’t get weighed at the doctor's office." or "I'd rather not.". The nurse will then escort you to a small examining room. Then the nurse may direct you to sit down on a chair or on the examining table.

She or he will ask you why you are at the doctor's office."What brings you here today?" or "Why did you come to the doctor?" or "What are your symptoms?". (A list of symptoms appears at the end of this lesson)

After you have reported your symptoms, the nurse might ask "How long have you had these symptoms?" or "For how long?". You should answer with the length of time you have had your symptoms:

Jennifer answers "A couple days". You might say "About three days", or "two weeks", or "since Monday" or however long you have had the symptoms.

The nurse may put a thermometer into your ear or ask you to hold an oral thermometer under your tongue. "Under the tongue" the nurse might say "or "Put this under your tongue." or "Hold this under your tongue.".

Then the nurse may say "Let me get your BP." Or "Let's get your blood pressure.". The nurse will wrap a blood pressure cuff around your upper arm above your elbow and below your shoulder. She or he will listen to your pulse through a stethoscope placed at your inner elbow to get your "BP" or "blood pressure". She or he might also take your wrist to feel your pulse.

After the nurse has the necessary information, he or she may give you a gown and say "Take off all your clothes except your underwear and put this on so it opens in the back." or "Put this on so it opens in the front.". He or she might say "Put this on and the doctor will be right in."

The nurse will leave you alone in the examining room. You should change into the gown as directed and sit on the examining table until the doctor comes.

Go on to the next lesson to practice the English that you will use with the doctor.