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Blog - Does the every day language we use matter?

Jan Dewing

Tuesday, 5 February 2019

Humanising birth: Does the language we use matter?

In most of the workplace culture projects I’m involved with, the concern or challenge about everyday language usually crops up. Often the starting conversation tends to be along the lines of a team feeling their language is person-centred or it doesn’t really matter – and what’s said isn’t how the team ‘really’ feel or think. In practical terms, teams need to consider their use of language – seriously. Not only as a way of respecting the views of those receiving care; ensuring that conditions of empowerment are the focus, but also in order to respect human rights and ultimately personhood.


Serious consideration can lead to workplace active learning taking place. So. I was delighted when I saw an article by three medical students in which they consider everyday language in the care of women birthing:

Humanising birth: Does the language we use matter?


Language matters as a way of respecting women’s views and ensuring that they are empowered to make decisions The team explored their language use and produced a summary table for their discoveries. Above is part of the table.

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