For Medical Professionals: Talking to Patients Made Easy

While a hospital is technically a business establishment, talking to patients is different from talking to customers of regular businesses. Conversations with customers at stores, restaurants, and gasoline stations are purely transactional. Talking to patients, however, requires doctors, nurses, and medical professionals to be candid, careful, and quite personal. Patients will reveal a lot of things to you, which are essential in diagnoses.

If you are a medical professional having trouble with interpersonal communication in a hospital setting, let this be your guide

Keep your words simple

You may be tempted to speak in your own language. Remember that some of the constructs you may say will not be easily understood by your patient. Explain how a process or procedure works. Explain the use of tools, such as disposable speculum with light, in layman’s terms.

Listen thoughtfully

Many times, doctors monopolize the conversations by talking nonstop. If you do this, you have no chance to hear what the patient has to say. And it may even lead to faulty diagnoses. What you need to do is just let the patient talk. Or if the patient is too shy and timid, lead the conversations by providing prompts or asking questions.

Do not always assume

Many doctors make the mistake of assuming they know what their patients have to say. Again, this may lead to a faulty diagnosis. Before you draw out a conclusion, listen to each fine detail of your patient. Validate your claim by asking more questions. Encourage them to be honest.

Talking to your patients should be done with care and thought. The most important thing that you should keep in mind is the confidentiality of the entire conversation.