Medical English Communications in OET

As a nurse, you will be the first person, patients speak to. And it is your responsibility to ask about the patient's health. Here are some basic things for you to start the conversation.

When you want to know about a patient's health, you may ask these following questions:

How are you doing? How do you feel? Can you please, tell me your problem? How is your general health? How is your health generally? 

Illness or Sickness

Not ill will mean healthy, fit, fit and well, in good health, very well, etc. But, you will have to be careful in making use of ill or sickness. You can’t use sickness as a substitute for illness. 

Of course, sickness will mean illness but its usage is different. 

Check out these examples:

Patient: I was sick this morning. 

Possible meanings of the sentence given above are as follows:

The patent was ill this morning. The patient felt unwell this morning. The patient vomited this morning. 

Patients can use Sickness to mean Vomiting or Nausea too.

So, you will have to be very careful. 

Moreover, the word Sickness is used in some specific medical conditions or diseases such as Travel Sickness, Sleeping Sickness etc. 


The patient is said to be recovered when he/she returns to normal health after illness. You can say as follows:

The patient made a good recovery. 
The patient made a full recovery. 
The patient made a complete recovery.  

But, when the patient is returning to normal, then it means he/she is improving. The opposite of it will be deteriorating. 

So, you can say as follows:

The patient's condition is improving. 
The patient's condition is deteriorating. 

Other examples:
Get better = To improve
Get worse = To deteriorate
Get over (an illness) = To recover 

Remember, if the patient gets worse again after being better then it means he/she has relapsed. 

Another very important word that you can use in place of improvement is remission (this is used especially in recurring conditions such as cancer). 


10 months later, the woman remains in complete remission. 

The Word “Medical” 

The word medical is a common word. It is used more often in the medicinal field. Check out these combinations or word-groups associated with Medical. 

  • Medical treatment/Medical Care 
  • The medical profession 
  • Medical Advances 
  • Medical Research 
  • Patient’s Medical History (His/her Medical History) 
  • Medical Records  
  • A Medical School/Student  
  • Seek Medical Attention 

Can you complete the tables given below?

Noun Adjective


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