Dealing With Difficult Patients or Clients in OET Speaking Test

Nurses often have to deal with a lot of patients/clients. Some are easy to talk to. Some are difficult to deal with.

Occupational English Test (OET) wants nurses to have good skills in dealing with patients. Of course, the use of words matters a lot. Your communication skills make a difference.

In a role-play, you may come across a situation that demands extraordinary communication skills.

Let us face this:

“Your client feels pain. He/she has lost his/her independence. He/she is experiencing anxiety, stress. Obviously, such a patient will tend to lose control of his/her emotions. But, this will not make it any easier on any nurse.”

This upset or angry patient is certainly a test of your communication skills and of course, patience too.

When dealing with your client, you will have to employ a few strategies that can help you defuse the situation before it can spiral out of control.

Roleplay: Dealing with angry patients

“Your card says that you should be calm. You should try to draw out the patient’s feelings by effectively engaging in conversation.”

So, stay calm. That is the best approach. Remember, the patient is acting out of feelings of anxiety. Address the patient in the right way.

You will have to use the patient’s name. Try to maintain eye contact. Speak as softly as you can. Of course, in the role-play, the client/interviewer may try to display disturbance in feelings but you will have to be very patient.

Useful phrases.

Let me explain.
Allow me to explain this to you.
May I suggest…
Your options are ..
Can you tell me what you need?
Do you have any solution?
I completely understand your feelings
I understand your feelings

Use the words that demonstrate that you care about the patient/client. Let the patient/client know that he/she is important to you.

No arguing

Of course, the interviewer may try to trick you into a harmless argument. But, you will have to be careful. It is true that you are entitled to voice your views or suggestions but it is also very important not to argue on anything. You are not expected to do that.

“Perhaps, your patient/client is not getting the medicine on time. Perhaps, he/she is not getting the attention he/she needs.”

Try to explain possible reasons but do not overemphasize anything. It is always better to apologize to make things right. You can also reassure the patient that such things will not be repeated in the future. And that you will take care of the patient.

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