Making a Patient Feel at Ease

A woman describes the appropriate seating distance between a doctor and a patient.

Level 3  |  Academic  |  Health  |  Duration: 01:12
Source: Cambridge University Press


Video Transcript

  • Actually, a lot of research has gone into this, believe it or not.
  • The position of the seating is very important...
  • ...and can go a long way towards the success or failure of the interview.
  • Patients are less likely to be forthcoming...
  • ...if they are seated directly opposite the doctor across a desk.
  • If their seats are placed at right angles to each other,...
  • ...or if they're sitting opposite each other but away from the desk,...
  • ...then the patient is more relaxed and so, more forthcoming.
  • These are less formal seating arrangements.
  • Sitting across a desk from the doctor can make the patient feel ill at ease,...
  • ...and certainly in most cases, it doesn't facilitate conversation.
  • The actual distance between patient and doctor is also important.
  • You don't want to be so far away from your patient that you can't hear them,...
  • ...or that they feel you aren't interested in what they're saying.
  • But by the same token,...
  • ...neither do you want to make them feel threatened by being too close.
  • Seats should be somewhere between four and six feet apart,...
  • ...although in the US, as close as three feet is still considered appropriate.
  • Are there any questions at this stage?

Featured Words Level

  • DIRECTLY (Adverb) 7
  • RELAX (Verb) 6
  • EACH OTHER (Pronoun) 3
  • ACTUALLY (Adverb) 3


Comprehension Questions

  1. What is being talked about in the video?
    1. how doctors should treat sick patients
    2. how the doctor and patient should be seated
    3. how to get medicine in the hospital
    4. how the patient should describe illnesses

  2. When will a patient feel more relaxed in the doctor's office?
    1. when the patient has taken his or her medication
    2. when the doctor has walked out of the room
    3. when the patient is seated at a right angle to the doctor
    4. when the health insurance covers the patient's treatment

  3. Why is the distance between the doctor and patient important?
    1. because the doctor and patient have to be seated close to understand each other
    2. because the doctor needs to be far away to not catch germs from the patient
    3. because the doctor cannot be involved personally with the patient
    4. because the doctor needs some space away from the patient

Discussion Questons

  1. What qualities would you look for in a doctor?

  2. List the things that would make you feel relaxed while inside a doctor's office.

  3. Describe your current doctor. What is he or she like?