Communicating With A Doctor And At The Pharmacy












How do you communicate with a doctor and at the pharmacy in English?

We often use these expressions to explain a medical problem:
  • My (head, arm, tooth, throat, chest, back, etc.) hurts.
  • I have pain in my (head, arm, tooth, throat, chest, back, etc.)
  • I have a bad cough and a fever.
And here are some typical vocabulary words we use at the doctor's office, pharmacy, and hospital:

Medical People

Doctor: A professional who has graduated from medical school and passed exams to become a physician. Doctors diagnose and treat illnesses.

Physician: Another word for a doctor.

Nurse: Nurses also provide care, but are not qualified to diagnose illness or disease. They provide supportive care to patients who are treated by doctors.

Surgeon: A type of doctor who performs surgery or operations.

Medical Places

Hospital: A location where you go to get medical care.

Emergency Room (also called the ER): The part of the hospital where you go in an emergency, or a condition that needs immediate medical attention.

Intensive Care Unit (also called the ICU): The part of the hospital where you go if you need continuous medical attention.

Pharmacy: A place where you go to get your prescriptions, drugs, and medication (also called a “Drug Store”). 

Medical Feelings

Pain: A feeling of intense discomfort (see the expression above to explain a medical problem).

Hurts: Similar to pain, hurts is a verb that describes an unpleasant sensation (see the expression above to explain a medical problem).

Medical Treatments

Prescription: A signed piece of paper from the doctor telling you (and the pharmacy) what drugs are appropriate for treatment.

Shots: Doses of medicine or vaccines given by a needle.

Exam: A procedure in which the doctor evaluates your condition.

Cast: Something you wear if you have a broken bone, so that the bone does not move.

Diagnosis: Your doctor’s decision about your medical problem.

Medical Conditions

Headache: A sore head (pain in your head)

Stomachache: A sore stomach (pain in your stomach)

Flu: A viral condition in which you may have a stomachache or symptoms similar to a cold (also called influenza).

Sore Throat: Pain in the throat

Bone Fracture: A situation in which one of your bones has broken.

Disease: A type of illness or sickness.

For important translations in English and French, here are two PDF documents for you to download:




If you have difficulty downloading the documents:
  • Right-click on the document (cliquer à droite)
  • Choose "save as . . . " (choisir "enregistrer sous . . .")

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