Building a relationship with your patient is at the center of being able to provide additional care for them. Without being able to obtain the correct history, or not attaining their initial trust, there will be barriers when going forward with any further intervention(s) or communication efforts. Nonetheless, there will be times where very sensitive topics come into play. Talking about topics such as gun violence, being a victim of crime, or simply trying to teach a patient about the asthma action plan can be difficult when not considering the emotions they might be having. Many healthcare professionals have not had the same experiences as the patients they are trying to communicate with. It is essential to develop the right communication skills based on the conversation you are about to have with your patient.
Based on a review about doctor-patient communication: “There are reported observations of doctors avoiding discussion of the emotional and social impact of patients’ problems because it distressed them when they could not handle these issues or they did not have the time to do so adequately. This situation negatively affected doctors emotionally and tended to increase patients’ distress. This avoidance behavior may result in patients being unwilling to disclose problems, which could delay and adversely impact their recovery” (Ochsner Journal).
In order to be the best advocate for your patients, it is important to step out of your comfort zone and engage with them. Adequate communication involves both style and content: active listening, empathy, and use of open-ended questions are only a few things to consider. At the end of any interaction, it is important to have attained a productive conversation. Moreover, being able to consider your patients perspective and exploring the situation they are in can help you better understand how they are feeling at their current state. This ultimately helps the patient feel more comfortable and allows you to attain the essential information you are looking for when going forward with patient care.
Every interaction you have, can impact an individual in many ways. The review I read made a very interesting philosophical statement: “Hippocrates suggested that doctors may influence patients’ health. Effective doctor-patient communication can be a source of motivation, incentive, reassurance, and support. A good doctor-patient relationship can increase job satisfaction and reinforce patients’ self-confidence, motivation, and positive view of their health status, which may influence their health outcomes”. Communication skills are essential in any field of work. As a healthcare professional, the communication you have with your patients can truly change lives, especially when your patients need to talk to you the most; they came to seek your help for a reason.
Doctor-Patient Communication: A Review –> https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3096184/