In the complex world of healthcare, good communication is key. It helps both doctors and patients understand each other better. The Situational Judgement Test (SJT) stresses the importance of this skill in the medical profession. Let’s explore how good communication works through different scenarios.

  1. Delivering Sensitive News:

Scenario: You have to tell a young mother that she has a malignant tumour.

How would you do this?

  • Would you just tell her the diagnosis using complex medical terms?
  • Or would you make sure she’s comfortable, use simple language, and reassure her about ongoing support and treatment options?

Why It Matters: It’s important to make complex information easy to understand. Offering reassurance can help build a stronger, more trusting relationship with your patient.

  1. Overcoming Language Barriers:

Scenario: An elderly patient who doesn’t speak English seems distressed and can’t explain what’s wrong.

What do you do?

  • Try to communicate using gestures and speaking louder?
  • Or use a professional interpreter or translation tools to help understand and address the patient’s needs?

Why It Matters: Adjusting how you communicate to meet the needs of your patients is crucial. Using professional tools or help ensures that you understand accurately and respond effectively.


  1. Responding to Patient Emails:

Scenario: A patient sends you an anxious email about side effects they read about online.

How do you respond?

  • Quickly dismiss their concerns by saying not to trust online information?
  • Or take the time to address their worries, suggest reliable sources, and ask them to come in for a follow-up?

Why It Matters: When you’re writing back to patients, it’s important to be kind and informative. This builds trust and helps patients follow medical advice more closely.

  1. Handling Disagreements Within Your Team:

Scenario: A senior doctor recommends a treatment that you think isn’t the best option based on your recent research.

What’s your approach?

  • Keep quiet because they’re more senior?
  • Or start a respectful discussion about your research and suggest possible alternatives?

Why It Matters: Talking things through with your colleagues helps ensure that everyone is considering the best possible care for the patient. It’s also a great way to learn from each other.

In Conclusion: Mastering Communication in Medicine

Being a good communicator is like conducting a symphony. Every interaction, from a soothing word to a well-considered email, contributes to the overall quality of patient care. How will you choose to communicate in your next clinical situation?

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