Good planning is essential to ensure you understand the case notes and respond correctly to the given task.
There are number of steps will help you to write an effective letter
Step 1 PLANNING
Ask yourself the following questions when reading the case notes;
- Who am I writing to – Doctor or director
- What is the purpose of the letter and reason for writing
- What information do they need to know
- What information they need not to know
- What is the patients current condition
- Is the communication urgent or not
- Are there any significant social factors which need to be mentioned
- What information can be paraphrased
- What information can be summarized
PAST MEDICAL HISTORY
- Patients age, gender, nationality
- Summary of main issue
PARAGRAPH 1 : Background information
- Social relationships
- Current activities
- Patient’s history
Paragraph2: Summary of first 3 visits
Paragraph 3: Details of most recent admission
Paragraph 4: Discharge requirements
What is omitted
Medical details as referral are to non- medical professionals.
Remember this technique
COMMON TIPS FOR WRITING A LETTER
Please always concentrate on these
Categorise the information given in the case notes into sections such as the complaint of the patient, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and medications prescribed, patients medical history, progress of treatment, further care required and the social background, so that letter can be composed in a comprehensive manner. This would also ensure avoidance of repetition of facts.
Its important to omit details that are not really necessary, so that the letter can be precise and well within the word count, especially as the examiners are the strict on the length of the letter.
Summarise the case note in a simple and clear way so that reading is easy and the contents properly relayed
Acronyms should be written in their expanded form.
WHAT IS TO EXPECT IN OET?
- Legible handwriting
- OET is not a test on nursing, but it is a test of candidates’ proficiency in English in CLINICAL SETTING
- Spelling, punctuations and grammar are evaluated in the 4 modules
- Structure of sentences is of vital importance according to situations. The language to be used in writing a letter to a general practitioner is different from the one to be used in writing to a social worker.
- Focusing on the basics of English language ( spelling, grammar, punctuation) is of prime importance.
A FEW IMPORTANT FACTORS
- The letter should be in the specified format and well organized
- It is important to project the precise reason for writing the referral.
- Consider and ensure that irrelevant details are avoided. This would ensure that you letter is within the specified word count.
- Relevant information should be grouped together in separate paragraph and logically arranged.
- Use expression and vocabulary of standard formal language suitable to the letter.
- Grammatical accuracy and the use of the right punctuations are of vital importance.
- Avoid spelling errors. Spelling does matter.
It is important to note that more than 5-7 errors in your letter may not fetch you a grade B or higher