OET Letter writing is a module that candidates often do not fail. However, a few have experienced repeated failure in the same. To get out of that vicious circle, here is a page that is going to give you step by step instructions. Go through each section of this page and get ready to crack OET Writing next time.
Part 1 – The Question
Most of the OET Letters are referral letters although a very few are addressed to the patient’s relatives such as spouses or parents. In most cases, a medical professional writes a referral letter with a request to take care of the patient who is being discharged. Here is a situation:
- You are a nurse and Mr Albin has been your patient since he was admitted on 12th March, that is, a month ago.
- He has improved a lot since his admission and tomorrow he is being discharged. Mr Albin has strongly recommended sending him home but also advised him to continue his medicines for a month.
- However, Mr Albin is very old and has memory failure. For this reason, you think that it is better to send a nurse who could take care of Mr Albin.
- Unfortunately, your hospital doesn’t provide nurses for home-care so you have to find another solution.
- You have been told that Aster Home Care is a reputed nursing agency that arranges nurses for home-care.
- Upon your experience and consideration, you decide to write a referral letter to Aster Home Care to send a nurse to Mr Albin’s home.
Sample Question & Answer
Reading Time – 05 Minutes
Writing Time – 40 Minutes
Read the case notes and complete the writing task which follows:
Case notes:Wayne Tucker, a 27 year old, was admitted into the hospital of which you are charge nurse.
Name – Wayne Tucker
Marital Status: Unmarried
Admission Date: 4 September, 2016
Discharge Date: 14 September, 2016
Family: One elder brother (Melvin Tucker, married with two children, lives in Sydney)
Nursing Notes:One of his neighbors admitted him into the hospital after he had been complaining of severe headache. The patient was swaying to both sides while walking due to extreme headaches and dizziness/vertigo.
Occipital headache (for the last 1 year, August 2015 – August 2016)
Irregular bouts of vomiting (for the past 5 months, April 2016 – August 2016)
No history of seizures, no vision disturbances.
No fever, no paresis, no history of tuberculosis.
No allowing difficulties.
Reports revealed no abnormality.
Fundus, corneal, vision reflexes – normal.
No cranial nerve deficit.
Sensory functions, motor functions – normal.
No other detrimental cerebral signs.
Bladder, bowel – Normal.
Skull and spine – Normal.
CT Scan showed intra 4th ventricular cystic mass lesion.
MRI showed fairly marginated nonenhancing mass lesion (60 mm)
From external occipital protuberance to Cz midline incision was given.
Also performed midline posterior fossa craniectomy.
Cystic mass removed / hemostasis achieved.
Dura was closed.
CT scan (taken after one month) doesn’t show any presence of residual lesion.
Discharge PlanThe condition of the patient was normal at the time of discharge. Recommended to contact Dr. Tiana for further treatment.
Social Background:Lives alone in an apartment (Kiol Apartment, 5/11 Stratfield Square, Sydney NSW 2136, Australia)
Writing taskUsing the information given in the case notes, write a letter to Dr. Tiana, Head of the Department, BrainCenter, Alphon Star Hospital, Reserve Rd, St. Leonards NSW 2065, Australia, who will be responsible for Mr. Wayne Tucker’s continued care.
In your answer:
Expand the relevant notes into complete sentences.
Do not use notes form.
Use letter format.
The body of the letter should be approximately 180 – 200 words.
Part 2 – The Answer
To convert the case notes into a referral letter, you need to organize them into the following sections.
Whom are you writing to? To a medical professional like a doctor, a physiotherapist, a nurse, etc.
To the patient’s next to kin like husband, wife, parents, children, etc.
Who are you referring / transferring / discharging? A patient after operation, a patient on discharge, who needs further care.
Patient’s medical history Date of admission
Tests & surgeries (MRI/CT/Operation)
Patient’s diagnosis and treatment. What tests have been done to diagnose the patient.
What is the treatment regimen.
Nursing management. How is the patient going to continue his further medication / treatment / follow up.
Patient’s social status Widow/widower/divorced
Use simple present or present perfect tenses.
What is your request? Transfer, continued care, physiotherapist, social worker.
Who are you? Charge nurse
That’s how we write a referral letter.
Sample Answer 1
Head of Department
Brain Centre, Alphonse Star Hospital
Reserve Rd, St. Leonards NSW 2065
14 October 2016
Dear Dr. Taina,
Re: Mr Wayne Tucker , 27 years
This letter is being written to you to refer Mr Tucker for his ongoing care.
He was admitted to the hospital with swaying on both sides while walking owing to severe headaches and vertigo on 4 September 2016. Nevertheless he was discharged on 14 September 2016.The patient’s medical history reveals that he has been suffering from occipital headache and irregular bouts of vomiting from the last one year and 5 months respectively. However, he has no history of seizures, vision disturbance or paresis. On his clinical examination no abnormality was detected. Moreover,there was neither cranial nerve defect nor skull abnormality. His CT scan showed intra 4th ventricular cystic mass lesion.A fairly marginated non- enhancing mass lesion of 60 mm was seen on MRI. Cystic mass was removed via midline posterior fossa craniectomy. Dura was closed. He also underwent CT scan after one month which does not show any presence of residual lesion. Although the patient’s condition is stable now . It is recommended to provide him further treatment. If you need any information, feel free to contact.
Connecting Phrases – Addition
Connecting phrases are highly important in drafting an OET letter. A letter without connecting phrases look dry and repetitive. Below are the frequently used connecting phrases.
Besides, the patient is a non smoker and a regular practitioner of yoga.
Apart from the above mentioned medicines, the patient commenced on aspirin and paracetamol 500 mg.
In addition to this, the patient has been advised to undergo a three week physiotherapy.
Moreover, the patient has not been on any strict abstinence from alcohol.
Not only the patient was a widower but also very asocial owing to his abnormalities.
Additionally, the patient has complained about the poor hygiene inside the ward.
Furthermore, the patient’s mother has agreed to look after her daily needs and administration of insulin injections.
Also, it will be an added advantage for the patient if a nurse could look after her dressing time to time.
Connecting Phrases – Contrast
However, no expected result was found even after three weeks.
On the other hand, the patient’s health deteriorated on the following days.
In spite of all the attempts made by the nurses, the patient developed extreme bipolar symptoms.
Connecting Phrases – Reason
The patient is not accompanied by a relative, hence the need for a nurse to monitor his daily activities.
Mr Roy has not been able to respond to the analgesics so his doctor has asked him to commence on another course of medicines.
As well as
Use of Tense by Section
Content Tense Sample Lines
Introducing the patient Simple PresentPresent PerfectPresent Perfect Continuous “I write this letter to refer Ms Shallot who has been under our care following multiple surgeries…”
Patient’s admission, diagnosis, treatment. Simple PastPresent Perfect “Ms Shallot was admitted to our care on 12th March, 2018…”
Patient’s present condition Simple PresentPresent Perfect “Post-operatively Ms Sandra has regained a satisfactory health.”
Patient’s social circumstances Simple Present Mr John lives with his family – wife and three children, the eldest of which is seventeen years and the youngest 3.
Request Simple PresentSimple Future For the above reasons, you are requested to regularly monitor Ms Reena’s insulin intake.
Passive Voice in OET Writing
You may have noticed that OET writing uses a lot of passive voice. We write “the patient was admitted on 12th December, 2017” or “the patient was treated for three months.” Whatever be the reason, passive voice makes OET Writing impressive.
Active Voice Passive Voice
Doctor advised Ms Ezee to quit smoking. Ms Ezee was advised to quit smoking. (We don’t write “by doctor” because it is understood)
Nurses fed Mr Sam through tube. Mr sam was fed through tube. (We don’t write “by nurses” because it is understood.)
Sample Answer 2
Head Of The Department
Brain Center, Alphon Star Hospital
Reserve Rd – St Leonard’s
NSW 2065 Australia 14 September 2016Re: Mr Wayne Tucker ,aged 27Dear Doctor,Thank you for accepting the aforementioned bachelor who requires continuity of care from your service . He underwent craniotomy in view of his cystic mass lesion and is recuperating well.On 4th September 2016, Mr Tucker was presented to our hospital with an intense occipital headache associated with unstable gait and dizziness.He has been suffering with the same headache since 1 year and multiple irregular episodes of vomiting since 5 months respectively.Subsequently, physical examination was performed in which no significant abnormality was found. However, to rule out exact diagnosis, certain diagnostic investigation like MRI and CT of brain were done which revealed the current diagnosis.Therefore,he underwent surgery and his cystic mass was removed.Mr Tucker’s post-operative phases were satisfactory. Besides, he made a good progress without any complication. Besides,a CT was repeated after a month and no lesion was identified in his study. Hence,he is scheduled to be discharged today. In the light of the above, it would be greatly appreciated if you could examine Mr Tucker and manage his condition as deemed appropriate .All pertinent documents obtained during his confinement is enclosed. Of note, he lives on his own. Please do not hesitate to contact me for further details. Yours sincerely,
Sample Answer 3
Head of the Department
Brain Center – Alphon Star Hospital
Reserve Rd, St. Leonards NSW 2065
AustraliaDear Dr. Tiana,Re: Mr. Wayne TuckerI am writing to refer Mr. Wayne Tucker, 27 years of age, for your further treatment and care. He was admitted for 10 days due to his severe occipital headache which he has been suffering for a year and has presented which he suffered for a year and has presented (is it better this way sir?) a non- steady gait due to extreme headache and dizziness. In addition, prior to admission, he had a 5 months irregular bout of vomiting. During his admission, a clinical examination was conducted and revealed no abnormality. However, the CT Scan report showed intra 4th ventricular cystic mass lesion and the MRI showed fairly marginated non enhancing mass lesion (60 mm) which required him to undergo a surgery. A Cz midline incision from the external occipital protuberance and a midline posterior fossa craniectomy were performed and the cystic mass was removed. His hemostasis was achieved and his dura was closed. After the surgery, a CT scan was done showing nil presence of residual lesion. Upon discharge, his condition was normal and was advised to be referred under your care.Please do note that the patient lives alone and has only one elder brother, Mr. Melvin Tucker who also lives in Sydney. Kindly contact him in case of emergency. I firmly believe that you will be of great assistance to Mr. Tucker’s speedy recovery. Please do not hesitate to call me if you have any inquiries pertaining to the patient.Sincerely yours,
Sample Answer 4
The residential care nurse
ATK care home
58 spencer Hill Rd, Wimbledon – UK27 August,2016Dear Nurse,Re:Mr Alfie colemanI am writing to refer Mr Coleman who requires further support and management from your facility to improve his condition. He is being discharged today.Mr Coleman was admitted to the hospital on 17 August, 2016 with the complains of extreme abdominal pain after a slight cough. During hospitalisation, physical examination and CT scan were revealed left side abdominal mass, pitting edema on lower abdomen, severe hypersplenotrophy, hepatocirrhosis.Therefore, he was advised to administer fresh frozen plasma, injection vitamin K, low oxygen and red cell concentrates.Inaddition,he was recommended to continue somatostatin,hemocoaugulase and abdominal bandage compression.Mr coleman is on medications such as human serum albumin,furisemide,20mg,daily,combined spirolactone,60mg,daily.Also started antibiotics before pleural effusion.The patient’s breathing difficulty was incresed and pleural effusion done.Currently,he is stable and ready for discharge.Mr Coleman lives with his wife,Mrs Makoff colly.They have two children.It would be greatly appreciated if you could provide continue care to Mr Coleman, as he needs continue 3 months home stay care.Kindly note that,his haemoglobin was 81g/L at the te of discharge.All medical records are enclosed along with this.If you have any queries,please do not hesitate to contact me.Yours Sincerely,
OET Writing for Beginners & Semi-experts
OET Writing for Beginners
Hope you know how to write letters.
Read the question that comes with each day’s assignments.
Start writing with address-line, date
Patient’s age / DOB
Then write the salutation.
Dear Ms. Stella
Dear Dr. Sam
Start the letter
I write this letter to refer Mr Billy….
Head on to the patient’s medical history
Mr Billy was admitted to this hospital on 12th March with complaints…
Proceed to the diagnosis
Then to the treatments
Then to the medicines / regimen
What is the patient’s present condition?
What is the patient’s social status / history
Is he a widower / aged / disabled / lonely?
Why do you want a home nurse to be sent to his home?
Why do you request a physiotherapist
End the letter with:
It will be greatly appreciated if you can send an experienced nurse to Mr. Billy’s home for his personal care…
Your name in the question.