A challenge you may face in a healthcare setting is how to effectively communicate with your patients or clients. It is important to remember that you will encounter individuals of all different knowledge backgrounds and skills. As a healthcare professional, it is your responsibility to convey information in a way that the patient or client can easily understand. Below are three points to consider for effective communication.
1. Actively Listen
Actively listening to your patient or client is one of the most important factors in being an effective communicator. For example, I encountered a patient who expressed concerns about the effectiveness of her medication. Upon hearing her worry, I communicated the situation to the patient’s doctor. The doctor later informed me that the patient needed a change in the dose of her medication. Had I not listened to the patient and communicated to the patient’s doctor, then the patient may still be taking the ineffective dose of medication.
2. Speak clearly and use familiar terms
It is important to speak at a normal pace and to enunciate your words. If you speak too fast, then the patient may miss key terms or misinterpret the message you are trying to convey. Next, you want to speak in terms that are familiar to your patient or client. For example, if you tell a new patient you are going to enroll them in a prescription assistance program offered by a specific drug company, then the chances that the patient 1) has heard of the program and 2) is familiar with that drug company, is very slim. Hence, this conversation would most likely result in confusion from the patient.
3. Remember your non-verbal communication skills
It is important to smile, make eye contact and present a friendly persona to your patient or client. You want to convey to these individuals that your conversation is important and that you value what that person has to say. If you refrain from smiling and making eye contact, then the patient may interpret these signs as disinterest and lack of concern for the situation you are discussing.
By following these three tools, you can learn to be an effective communicator in the health field!
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