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Why we should offer jargon-free 'repair jobs'

‘I’ll need to open it up and have a look but I think the crankshaft bearings have worn down and the oil seal contact has gone, so oil has leaked onto the clutch lining.’

Complete bewilderment. My car had broken down, I had explained what happened to a mechanic, and didn’t understand a word he was saying. Car manuals and websites only made matters worse

After a two-week wait, and a scare as to whether I would need an expensive new part, my car was repaired.

Although relatively trivial, this episode highlighted to me the confusion, anxiety and fear a patient may feel when faced with a new diagnosis, especially if it is a serious disease of which they have never heard.

Good communication skills are integral to the role of a doctor, and avoiding medical jargon is one of the pillars of sharing and explaining information with patients.

After years of medical school and working as a junior doctor, I can no longer comprehend not knowing about basic sciences, disease processes and evidence-based treatment. I think that as doctors, despite the best empathic and jargon-free communication, it is still very hard for us to imagine how perplexed the patient may be by our diagnoses and explanations.

This episode also emphasised to me the vast amount of trust that patients place in us, to guide them through such unknown territory and be confident that we will endeavour to provide them with the best outcome.

Cara Hughes is an F2 in orthopaedics in Preston

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