OET CORNER – Nursing Writing Task

Nursing Writing Task – choose relevant and appropriate information

We have many requests to tutor OET students, so we thought that an OET Corner would help. We hope to bring you some tips and practice lessons every month to help with your studying.

Writing Criteria Changes

Today, we’re looking at the OET Nursing Writing task and we will be using the updated writing criteria. The revised criteria will be in place from 31 August 2019.

Specifically we will be trying to choose relevant and appropriate information from the patient notes to include in your letter. Under the old criteria this would be included in the ‘comprehension of stimulus’ objective. After the 31 August, you will find today’s aim in the criteria of ‘content’ and ‘conciseness and clarity’.

What you need to do

The first thing on your writing ‘to do’ list is to read the task itself. Before reading the notes, you should look at the task and understand:

    • who you are writing to
    • why you are writing to them
    • what they need to know
    • what you want them to do (if anything)

You can then scan the notes and see what information the reader requires in order to successfully care for the patient. (Your aim is to do this in the 5 minutes’ reading time).

Remember that you may be writing to someone who already knows the patient’s history, for example their GP. If this is the case do not repeat information that they are already likely to have.

Finding relevant information

From reading the task we know who the letter is for – Mrs Manley, Nursing Lead, Stoma Care Team. So, it is probable that the Stoma Care Team have already dealt with Mrs Willis in the past when her stoma was sited and are aware of her past complex medical history of Motor Neurone Disease.

Relevant information can be found throughout the patient notes, but there are two obvious places to find important facts:

    • the admission notes
    • the discharge plan

Key words and phrases

However, quickly finding the right information in the rest of the notes may not be so easy. There will be patient notes which are not relevant to the purpose of the letter.

Therefore, scan the notes for words or phrases which will signal important information that your reader needs to know. Examples from our exercise might be; on examination / peri-stomal / buried bumper / prescribed medication etc.

Order the information

For your letter to make sense it needs to be in a logical order. This doesn’t mean that you should write every referral or discharge letter in the same way (this is not encouraged), but it does mean that each paragraph should link logically to the next.

An example might be:

  1. what the patient was complaining of on admission
  2. what what was found on examination
  3. what happened during admission (medication, procedures etc.)
  4. what you would like to happen after discharge (follow up, referral to other professional etc.)

As you can see there is a logical timeline from when the patient was admitted to future care after they were discharged.

Notice any specific information

It is useful to notice information in the case notes which is not based on the physical condition, but on the emotional well being of the patient and their family. Good communication with the patient or the patient’s carer is a priority. If you notice a reference to any worries or concerns by the patient or their carer, then mention it if it is connected to the admission or future care plan.

Now do the writing task

We have given you a writing task to complete. Below there are some patient notes and the task information.

You need to choose relevant information and write a referral letter. Email your letter to us and we will mark it and return it with the model letter for you to see.

Writing Task

Patient Notes

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