Medical Professional-Patient Communication in Outpatient Department of Kotebe Health Center: A Sociolinguistic and Pragmatic Study

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Addis Ababa University


Doctor and patient communication is one of the interpersonal communications and is centre for clinical function in building a therapeutic doctor and patient relationship, which is the heart and art of medicine. Therefore, it is important in the delivery of high-quality health care. But, patients complain that doctors are not willing to listen to them, do not answer their questions or inform them properly, they are authoritative and unhelpful. Doctors, on the other hand, criticize their patients for not following their advice. Abstract The study focused on Outpatient department of Kotebe Health center, which is under Yeka sub city that provides primary health care for the general population which holds two doctors, four health officers, twenty three nurses and their patients. That is the communication between medical professional and patient from sociolinguistic and pragmatic aspects respectively. The first, contemplates the use of terminology, register, turn taking, solidarity and status, language and group membership, and code switching in language. The second, deals with the use of language in social context and emphasize the ‘functionality’ of utterances performed in medical contexts of interaction which attempts to address the speech act theory, the maxims and the paralinguistic feature of the language. The methodology used to collect the data is techniques such as interview; observations and questionnaires. The qualitative data which was found from the interactions and quantitative data found from questionnaires were analyzed and tried to inspect the two questions; those are mentioned above. Moreover, the study shows both interlocutors’ code switch from Amharic and to English and used terminologies during communication which has contribution for miscommunication and clarification. Variables such as age, gender, educational status etc. has big part in the interaction of the medical communication.