Whether you are preparing for the OET exam or you have it booked already in the coming few weeks, I want to challenge you with the idea of thinking like an actor / actress during your role-play. I want you to not just think like a doctor / nurse, but also at the same time, think like an actor / actress.
During the speaking role-play situation, you can never be sure how the interlocutor is going to respond. They are English teachers playing the role as patients or carers and you will have to be prepared for all kinds of unexpected responses, including emotional and aggressive reactions, which are quite common in real-life situations in hospitals. Usually, under these extreme conditions, many doctors and nurses can be too overwhelmed to come up with a response but here’s how your ‘acting skills’ might save you below.
Think about how you would act when facing this situation in real life. You can then improvise a well-balanced argument, explanation and piece of advice based on the situation. This can really help patients and take them from that aggressive, anxious worried state to a feeling of calm. This enables your patients to handle their feelings towards the condition / disease or whatever they might be going through more effectively.
We will delve deeper into the actor / actress concept and start being more creative. For example, there was a previous OET medicine role play card for doctors about asthma where a boy called Matthew had just been diagnosed with asthma. The parent become emotionally unstable after being informed of Matthew’s diagnosis, and they were in denial, and extremely worried that Matthew was going to have these debilitating effects forever. Your job in this role-play is to empathise with them, show understanding, make them feel reassured and put them in a place of calm.
On the actor/actress theme, you could say something like: “I absolutely understand your situation. My brother was diagnosed just like Matthew a few days prior, he/she was also worried stressed. I just want to let you know that he/she was able to cope with it and I understand what you’re going through. I absolutely know how you’re feeling right now.” You are essentially introducing new information that was not in the roleplay card in order to achieve your task of calming them down. And this is especially useful when dealing with emotionally unstable patients / carers.
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