English for Medical Professionals


CEFR: B1 – C1

This course is ideal for medical professionals who work or plan to work in English-speaking environments.

This course develops the vocabulary, language, and skills you need to read and understand medical texts, to be successful in medical exams, and to communicate effectively and accurately with patients and colleagues.

The course consists of 12 units featuring authentic texts, listenings and case studies throughout, offering the chance to practise medical English in real work situations.

Course units:

  1. Presenting complaints – interpreting body language, listening to personal details and complaints, diagnosing complaints, asking short and gentle questions and describing pain. Writing: a case report.
  2. Working in general practice – short questions in the general history, describing a GP’s job, social factors in general practice, GP statistics, medical jobs, signs and symptoms. Writing: a referral letter.
  3. Instructions and procedures – preparation for the first ward round, giving instructions, explaining a process, explaining a procedure, case presentation, making polite requests. Writing: case notes.
  4. Explaining and reassuring – explaining a gastroscopy and discussing complications, explaining procedures, acknowledge visual cues, adjectives to describe procedures, reassuring the patient. Writing: an explanation of possible complications.
  5. Dealing with medication – prescribing drugs in hospital, a patients chart, concordance, a drug chart, explaining medications, phrasal verbs. Writing: clinical incident reporting.
  6. Life style – sympathy and empathy, research in medicine, family and social history, overweight and obesity, making changes, stress, encouraging patients and making suggestions, language for exercise. Writing: email about dealing with stress.
  7. Parents and young children – baby’s six week check, applying for work, talking about oneself, reassuring an anxious parent, sharing experiences, recommendations for the use of the vaccine, empathising, practicing for OSCE scenarios, Writing: reflecting on ones own experience.
  8. Communication – understanding why patients can appear vague, acknowledging verbal cues, appropriate responses, barriers to prevention, dealing with a defensive patient, open and closed questions, alcohol. Writing: for training or work applications.
  9. Working in psychiatry – describing patients, eliciting the history, mini-mental state examination, wishes and consequences in negotiations, appearance, behaviour, and manner. Writing: notes from a mental state examination.
  10. Terminal illness and dying – recognising and dealing with emotions, informing a relative about a death, breaking bad news, donar cards, coping mechanisms, expressing preference, reactions to bad news. Writing: preferred coping mechanisms.
  11. Working in a team – discovering politeness in different cultures, appropriate responses, asking a senior colleague for help, communicating with a consultant, interrupting a colleague, interview panel, being polite. Writing: describing an example of good practise.
  12. Diversity at work – culture, spirituality and name awareness, dealing with tactless comments, cultural awareness, reporting and clarifying, awareness of feelings, saying long sentences. Writing: a response to a report.

*This course is based on the Oxford English for Careers series.