OET Speaking test for nursing candidates:
On the OET test, the examiners wish to see you express yourself in English in a professional environment. On the OET speaking test, two role play cards are used. One is given to the examiner, who will play the role of a patient and the other will be given to candidate who will play the part of the nurse.
For each role play you will have 10 minutes to prepare, introduce yourself, do the tasks and wind-up. There will be 2 role plays on every OET Speaking test.
In most cases, the patient will be fussy, agitated, anxious, unwilling to listen. You as a nurse, will have to provide good advice, calm the patient and explain further course of action.
As the test taker, you will never know what card your examiner will have. Therefore depend entirely on your own role-paly card.
Take this role-play for example:
SETTING: Private Clinic
NURSE You are attending to a 52 year old who works long hours in customer service. The patient complains of being tired and has been experiencing aching feet. Sometimes he/she has numbness and tingling, which worsens at night. The patient admits to being ‘paranoid’ as the uncle has Multiple Sclerosis and the aunt has Parkinson’s.
–Explain that working long hours and stress may produce symptoms such as tiredness and poor memory.
–Suggest initial steps to improve sore feet issues (comfortable shoes, orthopaedic shoes; compression stockings etc.)
–Emphasise that you think the patient may be putting too much pressure on him/herself
—Explain that you will examine the feet for obvious signs of injury and suggest a visit to the podiatrist.
—Advise the patient to arrange a medical appointment
—Highlight the importance of not self-diagnosing and thinking the worst
Here are some easy steps to follow while playing your part of the role:
- Jot down notes against every task—maybe if you have, form questions to ask, some expressions for reassurance and advice.
- Take charge of the situation right from the beginning. Read the role player’s card. See how many tasks are given to you. You will score high if you speak a lot and complete all the tasks.
In this case you have 6 tasks. Make sure you complete all of them.
Many times the task may require you to check the vital signs of the patient and calm the patient if he or she is anxious, agitated or uneasy. In addition you may have to provide information on simple cures or home remedies. You may have to advise a patient on some techniques to be practiced at home or explain how to be careful and suggest future prevention methods. To do well in the test, do not forget any task however little it may seem.
- You are the nurse on duty. Act normal as you would in your professional situation. You should introduce yourself first, and then ask the patient (your examiner) the reason for coming.
“Hello, I am ________, the nurse on duty here.How can I help you?”
- As a nurse, you are accustomed to be a caregiver.During the whole role-play process, keep talking in a calm, reassuring manner showing sympathy and empathy.
In the sample role play, you need to calm a ‘paranoid’ patient. So keep reassuring and however agitated she gets, keep using words like, ”oh…that’s fine…that’s ok. I don’t see any major problem here, ok?”
- Be a good listener. Listen to all the patient’s problems and symptoms of illness. Sometimesan anxious and agitated patient might exaggerate his/her symptoms and whine or cry about his /her problems. Do not interrupt the patient. Listen to the patient intently. Use words like “hmmm…”, ”ohhh…,” “ok…ok…” to show that you are listening and that you care about the patient’s condition.
- Respond to an agitated patient calmly. Never outshout your patient or interrupt her/him.
The examiner in her/his capacity as the patient may be too agitated, not allowing you to speak at all and refusing to listen to you.
In this role play, a paranoid patient may be unwilling to accept your advice and insist on his/her own point of view.
The best way to handle this is to pose many questions like, “what are your working hours?, Which days do you have off? What do you do in your spare time? Do you exercise at all? Do you find time to exercise? To meditate?
Posing questions will help the patient take her/his mind off his/her anxiety and help you lead him/her into saying what he/she is worried about.
Asking questions also ensures the patient that you are concerned, you are giving him/her attention and that you are working on a solution to her/his problems.
If you let the patient speak without posing any questions, then you will be trapped into a corner where you will be unable to speak further and thereby failing to complete your tasks.
- When your patient is complaining, reassure him/her at every point.
“Yes, if you get yourself a pair of orthopaedic shoes, (suggest a popular brand0 I am sure it will relieve the stress on your feet”
“Why don’t you use cold ice-packs to ease the pain?”
“I understand that you have long working hours, but do keep taking short ten minute breaks in between, so that you are not too stressed.”
- If a patient is nervous, give him/her confidence by suggesting that his/her problems will get better.
“I am sure you will be able to get back to work by next week”
“I understand that you have been unable to find relief for your foot pain, but a visit to the podiatrist will do you a lot of good.”
“Have you been to a podiatrist before? Well, podiatrist will have solutions for what has been bothering you…”
“Will you take an appointment with the doctor? Because unless you do, you will keep having this problem”
“Once you take care of your stress, your memory will be back and you will not be tired any more.”
- When taking the vital signs or examining any patient, explain the procedure patiently and also why you need to take them
“May I examine your feet? I just want to make sure there are no injuries.”
- Be careful when taking to the parent of a sick child. Usually their mothers are very agitated and worried. Treat the mothers/parents and children with a lot of patience and care.
- While directing the patients to the doctor, explain what procedure/medical assessment the doctor is likely to do.
- Note down a number of phrases you would use under different situations. This will help you on your speaking test when you are faced with difficult and quarrelsome patients.
Read: OET BLOGS