Learn Auslan Level 3: Phrases for medical staff


I’ve been asked for signs that can be used by medical practitioners such as doctors, nurses, paramedics etc. The next few lessons will focus on these, culminating in a big video with lots of questions you can ask a patient. In the meantime, it’s helpful if you learn some basic signs relating to health. That will make it easier for you when the time comes to put them into sentences.

I have created this as a stand-alone unit so that if you work in health you can quickly learn the most important signs. However, this unit will be much easier if you have done at least a few lessons from Level 1.

  • sick,
  • sneeze,
  • cough,
  • cold/flu,
  • ill,
  • better,
  • health,
  • hospital,
  • ambulance,
  • medicine/medical,

Medical 1

These are some more health signs that can be used by health practitioners, doctors and paramedics. Learn these to prepare for the upcoming lesson in which we’ll use them to ask questions of patients.

  • pain,
  • pain (a small area),
  • temperature,
  • high temperature,
  • normal,
  • improve,
  • nausea,
  • vomit,
  • blood,
  • injection,
  • faint 

Medical 2

These are some more health signs that can be used by health practitioners, doctors and paramedics. Learn these to prepare for the upcoming lesson in which we’ll use them to ask questions of patients.

  • asthma,
  • epilepsy,
  • diabetes,
  • stroke,
  • heart attack,
  • AIDS,
  • schizophrenia,
  • doctor,
  • nurse,
  • allergy 

Phrases for medical staff and paramedics

This lesson is a big one, and teaches several questions medical practitioners such as paramedics and doctors can ask their patients. If you haven’t already, make sure you’ve mastered the vocab in the previous three lessons.

Below, in lower case letters, I’ve written the English equivalent of the questions / statements. In capital letters, I show the signs used.

  • I’m a nurse ME NURSE,
  • I’m a doctor ME DOCTOR,
  • I’m a medical student ME MEDICAL STUDENT,
  • I’m an ambulance officer ME WORK AMBULANCE 
  • I want to help you. HELP YOU ME WANT 
  • Why did you call an ambulance? YOU CALL AMBULANCE WHY? 
  • Tell me your medical history – asthma, epilepsy, diabetes, stroke, heart attack? YOUR MEDICAL HISTORY WHAT? YOU HAVE ASTHMA, EPILEPSY, DIABETES, STROKE, HEART ATTACK PAST? 
  • Do you take any regular medication? MEDICINE YOU TAKE REGULAR? 
  • Do you have pain? PAIN YOU HAVE? 
  • Where is the pain? PAIN WHERE? 
  • Can you describe the pain: crushing, tight, sharp, stabbing, burning? TELL ME OVER PAIN. CRUSH, TIGHT, SHARP, STAB, BURN? YOU FEEL WHAT? 
  • When did the pain start? PAIN START WHEN? 
  • What makes the pain better? ANYTHING YOU DO HELP IMPROVE PAIN?
  • What makes the pain worse? ANYTHING YOU DO UN-IMPROVE/LOWER PAIN? 
  • Have you taken anything to try and treat the pain? YOU FINISH TAKE MEDICINE FOR PAIN? 
  • Could you rate the pain on a scale of 1-10. 1 being good and bad being 10. I WANT KNOW HOW BAD YOUR PAIN. PRETEND 1 MEAN GOOD, (DRAW PAIN-LINE) 10 MEAN TERRIBLE, WORSE EVER, YOU WHERE-ON-LINE? 
  • Can you walk? WALK CAN YOU? 
  • When did you last have something to eat or drink? YOU LAST EAT DRINK WHEN? 
  • Have you had any water? WATER YOU DRINK-FINISH? 
  • I’m going to put a needle in your arm so that I can give you some medications, is that alright? ME INJECT-YOU, WHY? GIVE MEDICINE. OK? 
  • Do you have health insurance? HEALTH INSURANCE YOU HAVE? 
  • Would you like to go to the private or public hospital? HOSPITAL YOU WANT PUBLIC OR PRIVATE WHICH?

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This course started as a few quick videos to help a friend learn Auslan. is course is free because I want Auslan to be easily accessible to everyone, and I want to improve the lives of Deaf people who will benefit as more hearing people learn Auslan. I also want to make Auslan accessible to deaf people who are interested in learning to sign, as learning Auslan was life-changing for me.

However, the course takes up a lot of my time. Students email with questions, technical problems happen constantly, and there is a significant overhead involved in managing a course/site with so many students. It costs me money as I pay people to help sort out all the issues that come up. I have resisted the suggestion that I monetise it through advertising, because I am philosophically opposed to living in a world full of ads.

So… if you have benefitted from learning these signs, if you want to help this endeavour to create a world that is more accessible for Deaf people, and support my mission to make Auslan available to everyone for free, I would really appreciate a donation.

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Read Future Girl to learn more about Deafness and Deaf Culture

Auslan cannot be separated from the Deaf community. To understand Auslan properly, and to use it appropriately and effectively, you need to understand what it really means to be Deaf, and the issues d/Deaf people face in everyday life. My novel, Future Girl, provides detailed insight into Deaf culture and what it feels like to be d/Deaf.

As well as being an exploration into d/Deaf identity, Future Girl is a captivating own-voice coming-of-age novel set in near future Melbourne, that bursts with passion, resilience, optimism and joie-de-vivre. An instructional environmental call-to-arms, it is also an utterly gorgeous art journal – 384 pages, no less, of full-colour art.

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