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OET Speaking: Remember Your Vulnerability

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Your patient is in a vulnerable situation. Normally, they go about their life quite securely. But today they’re possibly in pain and frightened. Hospitals and clinics can be intimidating places when you’re not used to them. Consequently, they might behave in ways that make it difficult for you to empathise.

But showing empathy is vital for both your working life, and if you want to pass the OET speaking exam. In this third lesson on building your empathy muscles, start by remembering a time when you were in a vulnerable position. Perhaps it was during your childhood or adolescence. Or maybe it was while you were training. Everybody has felt this way at one stage in their lives.

How did it feel to you? Did your heart race or your stomach clench? How did you behave? Did you mask it by being overconfident, perhaps arrogant? Or did you burst into tears? When this happened, how would you like someone to have treated you? What words and tone of voice did you want to hear, and what demeanour could the other person have shown?

That vulnerability will be showing up in your patient too, although their behaviour might be very different to yours. Remember what that feels like. Talk to the patient as you would have liked someone to talk to you then. It’s a great way to build your empathy muscles, and an important first step to passing the OET exam.

Remember that everyone is vulnerable

  1. Think of a recent difficult patient you treated.
  2. Remember it was their vulnerability causing them to behave in that fashion.
  3. Travel back in your mind to a time when you were vulnerable.
  4. Imagine how you would like to have been treated, back then.
  5. Picture a future encounter with a difficult patient. Talk to them using the words and tone of voice that would have aided you in the past.

If you want more help to pass, discover how SLC can help you clicking here:

Stephanie Lam
About the author

Stephanie Lam is a writer, journalist, and English teacher. She specialises in writing fabulous words for the wellbeing and health industries.

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