Do You Have Insurance?: ESP for Medical Professionals

Do You Have Insurance?
ESP for Medical Professionals

Martin Hendrikx
by Martin Hendrikx 12,154 views

Teaching English can be a challenge and ESP can be even more challenging, however it is always important to remember that your students will normally have a basic understanding of the English language when they come to you. When you teach English for specific purposes for medical professionals you need to remember that there is a lot of specific jargon that apply only to their field. Along with vocabulary lists, you will need to involve them in role playing exercises to encourage them to use their language skills.

Some of the main things that nurses, doctors, and other medical professionals will need to know are the names of the parts of the human body, medical supplies, and visiting hours (identifying family members). Along with some phrases that relate to these topics which I will give you below, it is important to use vocabulary lists and role playing exercises for situations such as giving news to patients and interacting with them.

It is important for medical professionals to identify the different parts of the body and there are many ways to learn them in English. One site that is very helpful is: If you would like a longer list of body parts, below you will find a list of the different basic parts of the human body which are needed for all medical workers to know.

Basic Vocabulary: ESP for Medical Professionals

  1. 1


    Brain, Hair, Face, Forehead, Eyes, Nose, Mouth, Lips, Tongue, Throat, Cheeks, Chin, Ears, Jaw, Neck

  2. 2

    Upper body

    Collarbone, Chest, Breasts, Nipples, Ribcage, Stomach, Waist, Navel, Belly Button

    ARMS: Shoulders, Armpit/Underarm, Muscles, Triceps, Biceps, Elbow, Wrist, Forearm, Hand, Fingers, Thumb

  3. 3

    Lower Body

    Hips, Gluteus Maximus (Butt)

    LEGS: Thigh, Knees, Shin, Calf, Ankle, Foot, Toes, Toenails

Medical Supplies

There are many items which will be found in a hospital; however, I will give you a list of common items which can be found in doctor’s office, operating rooms, and medical kits. This list will be very concise, however it is always a good idea to write them on a black board and then have your students give you any other items they use often while at work. You can always have them give the names of the items in their own language and translate with them. For a varied list please check this site.

  1. Antiseptic
  2. Bandage
  3. Blood pressure monitor
  4. Dressing
  5. Elastic tape
  6. Eye chart
  7. Forceps
  8. Gauze
  9. Hypodermic needles
  10. Otoscope
  11. Oxygen mask
  12. Scales
  13. Stethoscope
  14. Syringe
  15. Thermometer

Visiting Hours (Family Members)

Part of being a medical professional, especially a nurse will be to deal with the family members and friends. It is important that they be able to identify the different members of their patient’s immediate family, extended family, and other loved ones (friends and room-mates etc.)

Immediate family includes parents (mother and father), spouse (husband or wife), children (sons or daughters), and siblings (brothers and sisters) that are related directly to the patient. When we talk about extended family, you will need to make sure your students know about the following: grandparents (grandmother/father), aunt and uncle, nieces and nephews, and lastly, cousins. The last groups of visitors are the other loved ones which include friends, room-mates, neighbors, co-workers, fiancé, and boyfriends and girlfriends.

In order to help your students learn more English, roleplaying is the best tool you will be able to use since most of the interactions they have will be with patients and their patients’ families. Some role playing activities you can practice with the students are nurses asking for information when people are trying to check in to the hospital, doctors or nurses giving information to the patients about their conditions or to their family members about their condition. Below I will give you some sample sentences that they may use, however it is also a good idea to have the students come up with their own sentences and plays based on how they would normally interact.

Nurse's Questions for People Checking into the Hospital

  1. What is your full name?
  2. Do you have any pre-existing conditions?
  3. Do you have insurance?
  4. What is your reason for coming in today?
  5. What is your home address?
  6. What is your phone number?
  7. Do you have any people you would like to list as emergency contacts?
  8. Where does it hurt?
  9. Have you been to this hospital before?
  10. How old are you?

Giving News to the Patients or Family Members

It is always important that you teach the students how to be compassionate and use words very selectively in order to keep the patients and family calm. It is important to skip over the medical jargon that people will not normally understand. It is also important to teach about cultural differences since certain cultures react differently than others. The Buckman’s six step model will also play a vital role in the way they deliver bad news. A complete guide can be found on The six steps are listed below.

  1. Getting started
  2. Finding out how much the patient knows
  3. Finding out how much the patient wants to know
  4. Sharing the information
  5. Responding to the patients’ feelings
  6. Planning and follow through

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