Viola Robinson, Faculty, Kaplan University School of Health Sciences
Note: This is a follow-up blog to: Healthcare Administrative Writing Part Two.
Sentence structure is another area Healthcare Administrative professionals must master to communicate effectively. Prior to speaking and writing, healthcare professionals must organize their ideas, so their thoughts flow in an orderly and logical manner. However, many people are challenged when it comes to expressing themselves fluidly and logically on paper. This is why it is so important for students in Healthcare Administration to hone their basic writing skills beginning with the eight parts of speech and sentence structure.
Provided here is a quick review of sentence structure that you can share with your students: Please note that a basic sentence should always have a subject (noun) and predicate (verb). Thus, this is different from a phrase which is a group of two or more words grammatically linked that does not contain a subject and predicate. An example of a phrase could be to build the barn. In order to form a complete thought (sentence) with this phrase, I could say, Sally signed the work order, and tomorrow that work order will give Harry permission to build the barn.
There are 4 types of sentence structure in the English language:
1) Simple. A simple sentence contains a core subject and predicate.
2) Compound. A compound sentence contains two or more simple sentences.
3) Complex. A complex sentence can either contain an adjective clause or an adverb clause. Remember, an adjective modifies a noun and an adverb modifies a verb.
4) Compound-complex. A compound-complex sentence contains two sentences, and one or more adjective or adverb clauses.
Simple Sentence: Carla usually goes shopping each Tuesday with her best friend Joan.
Compound Sentence: Carla likes to purchase shoes, and Joan loves handbags.
Complex Sentence with an adjective clause: Joan likes to encourage healthy eating for Carla who often choses a fast food restaurant during their outing.
Complex Sentence with an adverb clause: Although Carla loves her best friend, she is not an advocate of salads and bean sprouts.
Compound-Complex Sentence with an adjective clause: Joan stopped at Salad and Things, but Carla, who loves cheesesteaks, went to The Cheesesteak Hut.
Compound-Complex Sentence with an adverb clause: Since she had a heart attack last May, Joan has been eating healthier; however, Carla has not been so quick to jump aboard the healthy eating wagon.
Varying your sentence structures as you communicate enables you to order your ideas logically, emphasize main points, and connect related ideas. It also adds spice to your writing, holding your audience’s attention and inviting feedback about your chosen topics. Understanding and learning to use the different sentence types will provide you the opportunity to develop and improve your writing overall.
Sentence Activity for Students
As you read the following passage, focus on the variety of sentence structures:
Suzanne is an outgoing little girl with a heart condition. She is scheduled to have a valve replacement on Friday. At 9 years old, she seems to take her medical condition very well. Her mother, pleasant and reserved, appears worried.
Addressing Suzanne’s mother who stood attentively at the window, I said, “We obtained the authorization for the surgery from your insurance company,” Mrs. Higgenbottom-Hooper. “We had no trouble getting approval for the surgery. According to your policy, the service is covered. After your visit today, everything will be all set. If there are any problems, we will contact your insurance company for assistance.”
Mrs. Higgenbottom-Hooper studied me and then said, “I neglected to inform your office that Suzanne has coverage with her father as well now. The effective date of his indemnity plan is July 15. There are exclusions in his policy, but I don’t think they will have any trouble covering Suzanne’s surgery.”
I went into the registration screen to enter the new insurance information. “May I see the insurance card, so I can make a copy of it, please?” She handed me the card, and I went off to make the copy. I then returned and explained the Birthday Rule and Coordination of Benefits to Mrs. Higgenbottom-Hooper.
Once I explained the next administrative procedures to Mrs. Higgenbottom-Hooper, she and Suzanne proceeded to the next stage of the process. Suzanne was scheduled to see Dr. Kidney in cardiology at 11 am.
Were you able to identify different sentence structures? Just as when I spoke to Mrs. Higgenbottom-Hooper about her insurance coverage, Healthcare Administrative professionals regularly contact insurance companies and other professionals in the field, relay important and detailed information to patients, and document such communications in writing. Developing a strong command of sentence structure is fundamental to the logical and orderly communication required of Healthcare Administrative professionals.