Doctor's Office English Vocabulary

Premium
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The periodic payment made towards a health care policy. If health insurance is provided by a person’s employment the “premiums” are usually taken out of the monthly check.

“I pay $350 in health insurance premiums.”

HMO (Health Maintenance Organization)
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This is a corporation that is financed by the premiums people pay who have chosen the specific HMO. People who work at larger corporations or for the state will usually have the option to choose a HMO to provide their health care. The HMO will have certain doctor’s and medical staff that take care of these patients. Different towns and states have different HMOs that cover the area.

“When I got hired on with Dell I was informed that I would be receiving Healthcare benefits. I had to pick one of the three HMOs that Dell uses as my provider.”

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Co-pay
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This is the portion of the overall payment that the patient pays on the day of the doctor’s visit. The insurance covers the rest.

“I think my co-pay for this visit will be twenty dollars.”

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Check In/Admissions
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This is the process you follow when you first arrive at the hospital. Upon entering the main doors of the hospital or medical facility you will see a “Check in” or “Admissions” desk. There will be an employee seated there that will take your information and inform the right people that you have arrived.

“When I got to the hospital I went straight to the check in desk.”

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Physician
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This is a term that describes a doctor who is trained in the art of healing and practices medicine. In the United States you can get a doctorate in many different subjects (Education, Business, Accounting etc…). The term “physician” specifies that the person who has that title received his/her doctorate in medicine.

“The nurse told me that the physician would see me in five minutes.”

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Physician’s Assistant
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Health care professionals licensed to practice medical care with physician supervision.

“The Physician’s Assistant was able to see me about my condition.”

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Nurse Practitioner
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Is a registered nurse with an advanced education and training in a clinical specialty who can perform delegated medical acts with physician supervision.

“You won’t need to see the doctor today. The nurse practitioner will help you.”

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Inpatient
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A hospital patient who receives lodging and food as well as treatment.

“The doctor told me to check in as an inpatient today since I would be spending the night.”

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Outpatient
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A patient who is not hospitalized overnight but who visits a hospital, clinic, or associated facility for diagnosis or treatment.

“If you are going to check in as an outpatient you won’t need to stay overnight.”

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Diagnosis
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When the doctor determines the identity of what the patient is suffering from it is called the diagnosis.

“The diagnosis was good. The doctor told me I don’t have pneumonia. She said I just had a cold and that I would need to take these pills.”

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ICU (Intensive Care Unit)
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This is an area of the hospital where patients get constant attention. There is specialized equipment here to treat patients that are in a serious condition.

“After the accident she had to spend a week in the ICU.”

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OR (Operating Room)
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This is a place where surgery takes place.

“Anyone who enters the OR needs to wear a mask and gloves.”

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Emergency Room/ER
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This is a section of the hospital that is designated for emergencies. There are nurses and doctors on duty at all times to treat patients right away. The staff will see any patient from a car accident victim to an elderly person suffering a heart attack. Patients who have immediate needs will either drive up to the ER door or be taken in by an ambulance.

“I had to go to the ER when I fell and broke my leg.”

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Physical/Routine Check up
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This is an appointment with your doctor to check on a person’s general health. It is not a visit with the doctor to address an specific ailment or condition.

“Every year I go to my doctor for a routine check up.”

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Ailment
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The sickness or illness that the patient is suffering from.

“Because of his ailment he will not be able to run in the race.”

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Ache
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A sharp pain that continues for a period of time. A common phrase that is used with “ache” is a “headache”.

“I have a horrible headache.”

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Sting
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This is a burning type pain that you would feel after a bee sting or after scraping your knee badly.

“I fell and scraped my knee. It really stings.”

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Throb
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An ache that comes and goes in intensity.

“My tooth is throbbing with pain.”

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Tenderness
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Describes an area on your body that has been injured and hurts if you touch it. It is painful to the touch.

“I have a little tenderness in my arm where I was hit with the falling rock.”

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Cramp
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A sudden sharp pain felt in a muscle.

“I woke up this morning with a cramp in my neck and shoulders.”

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Swollen
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An area of the body that has become larger due to an injury, irritation or discomfort.

“His finger is swollen from hitting it with a hammer.”

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Dizziness

!

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A feeling of lightheadedness where you may feel like the room is spinning and it may be difficult to stand.

“When I hit my head I felt some dizziness and I had to sit down.”

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Run a fever
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When the temperature of your body is higher than normal.

“I was running a fever all day yesterday so I didn’t go to work.”

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To go numb
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A lack of feeling or sensation in an area of your body.

“I don’t have any feeling in my hurt finger. It has gone numb.”

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Broken/Fractured or Cracked Bone
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This refers to a bone in the body that has a break or a separation of some sort.

“As a result of her skiing accident she broke her collar bone.”

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Sprain
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This is an injury to a ligament or a joint caused by a sudden overstretching.

“The runner sprained his ankle and needs crutches to walk.”



Activities for This Lesson

  • Conversation Activity for Doctor's Visit
  • Script for Conversation with the Doctor
  • Doctor's Office Vocabulary Listening Activity
  • Doctor's Vocabulary Fill in the Blanks
  • Word Order Doctor's Office
  • Doctor's Office Fill in the Blanks
  • Doctor's Office Matching