Discourse in hospital settings or hospital setting discourse (HSD) signifies a relatively broad area of communication among different professionals involved in medical care and hospital visitors. Its scope over the relationship between doctors and patients, doctors and other professionals (for example, nurses, pharmacists, laboratory technicians, physiotherapists, etc.), between patients and other medical professionals, between patients and other hospital visitors (for example, relatives and heath service inquirers) and among patients themselves, represents a wide array of engagements which demands varying layers of orientation to institutional and social contexts. This broadness precludes the possibility of any exhaustive treatment of “discourse in hospital settings” in a single handbook contribution – not only because, barring some general similarities in interactional or language use patterns, the binary relationships exhibit role-related peculiarities and, therefore, distinctive discourse manifestations – but also because the contexts of the encounters between the groups impose different communicative constraints. Thus, for a relatively complete (but not exhaustive) account, the focus, in this entry, is on the discourse features of the interaction between doctors and patients (representing a cross-section of medical interactions) in Nigerian hospital settings.
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