Have you ever had a conversation with someone who is clearly not listening? Worse, have you ever tried to get someone to open up and failed to have them spit out a single word? Its just mutually a waste of time for everyone. It’s one thing when this happens with your absent-minded neighbor you run into at the grocery store, but when it happens in the medical practice, it can be dangerous or even deadly. That’s why it’s so important for a strong focus to be placed on the communication skills needed when it comes to patient and doctor interactions.
Patient and Doctor communication.
Sometimes physicians don’t have the right relationships with the people they’re treating. This can lead to huge problems for the practice as well your profession. Many studies show strong correlations between high levels of physician attentiveness and communication with improved overall health outcomes for their patients. Sure, this may be obvious. But when factors like physician burnout come into play, even the most detail-oriented professional can mess up.
Some ways a physician can provide quality care when time is limited include a lot of simple steps, such as:
- Taking a seat when interacting with a patient. This is such a basic task, but it does a lot to put your patient at ease and feel more comfortable than when you’re towering over them. Plus, it can make it feel like there’s a power-distance issue which can subconsciously cause the patient to feel threatened.
- Know your patient as an individual human-being, not their condition or disease. If you identity a patient as whatever is wrong with them, it can put your treatment a step behind actually. Nurture your patient and understand they’re unique.
- Show RESPECT. Empathy for other people is huge in a care-giver role.
- Be an attentive listener. Sometimes doctors are so concerned with jotting down information that they miss major components. If you find yourself not listening to a patient, kindly request they repeat the part you missed. You never know how big of a detail it might be.
- Calm their fears. When a patient becomes fearful, their stress only will make their condition worse. A physician can’t just break bad health news and walk away from an upset patient—instead they should elicit concerns.
- Tell them honestly. “Give it to me straight, doc.” It’s your job to diagnose health problems and its your moral responsibility to inform them.
- Educate patients and their families about as many different treatments as possible. Again, it is a physicians obligation to inform their patient. In addition, their loved ones may also want to know what courses of treatments are available as well as the details about them all. Included in this would be anticipated benefits about each treatment option, risks/side effects, consequences of no treatment, and assessing if the patient has a clear understanding of the proposed course of treatment.