English proficiency

Scenario: You have an appointment to see six-year-old Alireza for a check-up and scale and clean. He is accompanied by his 14-year-old sister (Nilofer) and their father (Nagarasa). While Nilofer appears to speak and understand basic English, her father and Alireza have very little English skills. Farsi/Persian is their native language. The family arrives 15 minutes late to the appointment. Nagarasa explained that Alireza had a very poor night’s sleep and was very “cranky” this morning. Alireza had not had a positive experience at his last dental check-up and had been saying all morning that he did not want to attend his dental appointment today. You notice that Alireza’s face is red and tear-stained and he is frowning while hiding behind his father. Nilofer is wandering about the clinic room and picking up various instruments, with her father occasionally interrupting your attempts at initial conversation with you to yell at Nilofer. You say “hi” to Alireza, and he runs to stand behind his sister. You gesture for him to sit in the chair and he refuses. Your supervisor is running late and will not be there for another 10 minutes. Your supervisor has the patient’s file so you are not sure of Alireza’s history. From what you can gather from Nagarasa and Nilofer, Alireza often refuses to brush his teeth and has never flossed before.

Essay instructions: The first purpose of this essay is to demonstrate your understanding of these human factors that are relevant to the practitioner-patient relationship. In your essay, you must discuss at least four factors that are relevant when thinking about the practitioner-patient relationship for this scenario (including how you might better handle future appointments). Include what the observable signs or feature of each factor could look like, drawing upon literature where possible. Different factors can be managed using tools or strategies, as discussed in the lecture series. For example, to manage the factor of patient ‘poor English proficiency,’ you could use strategies of using simple language or booking an interpreter to address the issue. In this essay, for every factor that you raise, identify and describe at least one tool that you could use to manage the situation. Note that some strategies (such as empathy, active listening, mindfulness and open body language) are general, and can be used to address a range of different factors. Given that you should identify at least four factors, you will then also discuss at least four strategies to address the issues. You will need to use the literature to support both the factors discussed and the strategies/tools used to compensate for those factors.

Assessment criteria

Your essay will be assessed on:

  • Organisation, e.g:
    • An introduction that sets context and indicates what the essay will discuss
    • Body paragraphs sequenced in order of the thesis as stated in the introduction, with clear topic sentences;
    • A conclusion that provides a point of conclusion (not just a summary) as well as discuss the implications of your content
  • Clarity of expression
  • Inclusion of observation notes
  • Use of APA6 citations, referencing, and style. A minimum of five (5) relevant and up-to-date references are expected

Writing Style

Because this is a reflective essay where you draw on your own experience of observations, you can use the pronoun “I” in this essay. For example, you could say “In my clinic observation, I observed an eight-year-old girl who had a tooth extraction…”. However, please make sure that you otherwise use academic writing (e.g., do not use contractions, avoid emotive language, etc.). Remember that learning to write well takes time. This is an opportunity to develop your academic writing skills. The most important thing, however, is that you have a chance to thoroughly consider human factors that are relevant to your practice, and also to reflect on what you have observed in the clinic.

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