Helping a Patient With English for Medical Purposes

Closeup shot of a medical practitioner holding a patient's hand in comfort
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Use this intermediate-level dialogue between a patient and nurse.

Helping a Patient

Patient: Nurse, I think I might have a fever. It's so cold in here!
Nurse: Here, let me check your forehead.

Patient: What do you think?
Nurse: Your temperature seems raised. Let me get a thermometer to check.

Patient: How do I raise my bed? I can't find the controls.
Nurse: Here you are. Is that better?

Patient: Could I have another pillow?

Nurse: Certainly, Here you are. Is there anything else I can do for you?

Patient: No, thank you.
Nurse: OK, I'll be right back with the thermometer.

Patient: Oh, just a moment. Can you bring me another bottle of water, too?
Nurse: Certainly, I'll be back in a moment.

Nurse: (coming in the room) I'm back. Here's your bottle of water. Please put the thermometer under your tongue. 
Patient: Thank you. (puts the thermometer under the tongue)

Nurse: Yes, you have a slight temperature. I think I'll take your blood pressure as well.
Patient: Is there anything to worry about?

Nurse: No, no. Everything's fine. It's normal to have a bit of fever after an operation like yours!
Patient: Yes, I'm so glad everything went well.

Nurse: You're in good hands here! Please hold out your arm...

Key Vocabulary

to take someone's blood pressure = (verb phrase) to check someone's blood pressure
operation = surgical procedure 
fever = (noun) temperature that is much higher than normal
to check someone's forehead = (verb) to put your hand between the eyes and hair to check for a temperature
raised temperature = (adjective + noun) a temperature that is slightly higher than normal
thermometer = instrument used to measure a temperature
to raise / lower the bed = (verb) putting the bed up or down in a hospital
controls = the instrument that allows a patient to move the bed up or down
pillow = a soft object that you put under your head when sleeping

Comprehension Quiz

Check your understanding with this multiple choice comprehension quiz.

1. What problem does the patient think she has?

 A fever
 A broken bone

2. What does the nurse think?

 That the patient has a raised temperature
 That the patient needs to see the doctor immediately
 That the patient should eat something

3. What other problem is the patient having?

 She's very hungry.
 She can't find the bed controls.
 She can't sleep.

4. What request does the patient make?

 She asks for an extra blanket.
 She asks for an extra pillow.
 She asks for a magazine.

5. What other problem might the patient have?

 She's overweight because she asks for food.
 She's thirsty because she asks for a bottle of water.
 She's very old because she mentions her 80th birthday.


  1. A fever
  2. That the patient has a raised temperature
  3. She can't find the bed controls.
  4. She asks for an extra pillow.
  5. She's thirsty because she asks for a bottle of water. 

Vocabulary Check Quiz

Fill in the gap with the missing word taken from the key vocabulary above. 

  1. We don't need to take Peter to the hospital. He only has a ________ temperature. 
  2. You can use these __________ to raise and __________ the bed.
  3. Let me get a ______________ so I can check your _____________.
  4. Could you check my ___________ to see if my temperature is raised?
  5. Don't forget to put a soft ____________ under your head before you go to bed.
  6. The __________ was successful! I can finally walk again!
  7. I'd like to take your _______________. Please hold out your arm. 


  1. raised 
  2. controls / lower
  3. thermometer / temperature
  1. forehead
  2. pillow
  3. operation
  4. blood pressure