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Lesson Plan: Oxygen Therapy

Oxygen Therapy
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This lesson enables students to describe and discuss oxygen therapy, and covers multiple skills and vocabulary. It is relevant for nursing students and professionals.

B2 (intermediate) level

Note: this article introduces the first part of the Teachers Notes. There is a link at the bottom to download the complete set of Teacher’s Notes and the Student Worksheet, so you can use this in your lessons.

Teacher Notes

●    Topic: Describing oxygen therapy

●    Timing: 45 mins

●    Lesson type/focus: speaking, reading, vocabulary and writing


●       Speaking: discuss and practise language for oxygen therapy

●       Reading: read for specific information

●       Vocabulary: learn and review language for oxygen therapy

●       Writing:  practise organising and presenting information


The focus of the lesson is describing oxygen therapy. The speaking activity introduces the topic and gives students the opportunity to share their ideas and experience. The reading activity contextualises some of this language and practises reading for specific information. The vocabulary activities introduce/review key vocabulary. The writing activity uses language from the lesson and to produce a piece of patient/carer-centred writing.


Note: This lesson supports the language introduced in the following:

●       Course: English for Nurses: Getting the Essentials Right

●       Unit: Breathing Difficulties

●       Module: ‘Breathing equipment’ pages 8 and 12

Teaching Notes & Answer Key

Part 1: speaking

Put students into pairs or small groups and ask them to discuss questions 1–4 on the student worksheet. Encourage them to share examples from their own experience.

Do whole class feedback to discuss and share answers.


  1. What sort of equipment is used to deliver oxygen?
    oxygen cylinders
    oxygen masks, nasal cannulae (nasal prongs)

  2. What should nurses explain about the use of oxygen to their patients?
    no smoking around the oxygen cylinder (relevant for home oxygen)
    check the oxygen level in the cylinder every day to make sure oxygen not running out
    only use the amount of oxygen prescribed, oxygen flow rates that are too high can be dangerous
    make sure oxygen tubing is clear of debris, change if necessary
    make sure correct size of mask is used so it fits snugly
    check elastic straps don’t chafe around ears, can cause pressure ulcers


  3. When might patients need to be given oxygen?
    only if they are hypoxic (have low levels of oxygen in the blood), e.g. if they are critically ill, after cardiac arrest


  4. What are these pieces of equipment and what are they used for?
    nasal cannulae: device which delivers oxygen through the nostrils: flexible tubing with one end which splits into two prongs which sit within the nostrils and the other end which is attached to an oxygen supply
    hyperbaric chamber: enclosed space in which almost pure oxygen is breathed in higher-than-normal air pressures so that oxygen levels in the body can be increased significantly.

Part 2: reading

Have students work in individually, or in pairs, to read the text to find the answers to questions 1–6. Tell students to concentrate on finding the answers rather than any words they don’t know at this stage.

Go through the answers as a class.

Have students read the text through again individually and highlight any new words. Deal with any vocabulary queries.


1.c   2.c   3.b   4.b   5.a   6.c

Extension activity

Review the meanings of medical prefixes hyper- and hypo-.
hypo-: low, depressed levels of, reduced
Note: hypo- + word/ word part which starts with o becomes hyp-
hyper-: high, excessive amounts of, increased

Have students identify the medical terms in the text with the prefixes hypo- and hyper- (hypoxia, hyperbaric).

Then have them work in pairs to write down other medical terms which also use these prefixes. Ask them to explain what they mean.













Download the complete lesson plan and student worksheet:

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