OET Letter Writing Tips for Nurses?

OET writing sub-test is very challenging for the nurses. A perfect OET referral letters shall be able to convey the intended message in a clear way. 

There are two important items which your OET Referral Letter shall cover and they are: 

  • Chief complaint & 
  • The purpose

The recipient of the letter would be much more interested in knowing about what the main issues are and what is expected of him / her.   

Therefore, you will have to carefully read the case scenario, case details given in the question. Pay attention to diagnosis / assessment.  

It will be a referral letter, so, it’s a good idea to begin as follows:

“I am writing to refer…….”

Add the details of the patient (eg; name, age, weight, marital status etc.) 

Now, in your introduction, it is very important to highlight what you are going to talk about. For example, if the patient is found to have high blood pressure then it makes sense to talk about it in the beginning of the letter  

Adding chief complaint

Add the chief complaints after giving introduction about the patient and the possible reason for referring.  

Adding the purpose 

It is always good to give purpose in a short and simple way. An overview can be added. 

To add the main purpose, you will have to closely at the TASK given. Yes, read the given task carefully to add the purpose.  Find out what it wants. It may possibly want you to provide further details on how the conditions worsens or may ask you to refer for advice or management.   

Summarizing aspects of the past medical history of the patient 

It is very bad to copy all that is there in the medical history of the patient. You will have to be smart to pick the words or describe the conditions more uniquely.  


Medical History:  

No known allergies, no current medications, no reported drug use,  no pregnancies, no history of STI, no surgical medical history. 
Such medical history can be described in one single sentence such as “The patient’s medical history is unremarkable.” You really do not have to add all those things given in the notes. 

But, you will have to focus on things which are worth mentioning. 

For instance: She is an alcoholic. Takes 5 glasses of wine at night. Started smoking some 6 months ago. Smokes 20/day.  

What is expected of the recipient? 

It is important to make very clear what you want the recipient of your letter to do. Therefore, provide proper details. Whether it is advice or management. Whether the patient needs further treatment or not. 

Ending the letter 

How to end it is important too. There are various informal endings. You can use “sincerely,” “thank you” and “regards” but the most suitable would be “Yours sincerely” or “Your faithfully.”
But, you shall know when to use “Yours faithfully” or “Yours sincerely.”

Generally, “Yours sincerely” is used when you know the name of the person you are writing the letter to (When you begin your letter with Dear Dr. Mark / Dear Dr. Henry then you end it with “Your sincerely”).

But, if you begin your letter as SIR / Madam (because you do not know the name of the person who you are writing to) then you use “Yours faithfully.”   

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