Here at Health Communication Partners, we think (and talk and write) about health communication all the time. It’s, y’know, in our name.
Of all the possible ways of approaching the issue of communicating with patients, this is one of my favorites.
That’s partly because when it comes to communicating as professionals, reflective practice can help us see some of what we take for granted. This is especially important when it comes to communication, because much of what we do when we communicate escapes our conscious awareness. That’s because we rely on ways of talking, acting, and being, that we use almost automatically.
I’m offering here prompts that you can use to reflect on the ways you communicate with patients or clients (hey maybe even colleagues!).
Specifically, I offer questions that deal with how you think about patients, yourself, and the language you use to communicate. Maybe pose these questions to a group of like-minded colleagues. If you’re an educator, these could work in small group discussions or as individual reflections.
Or just answer them to yourself, on paper or keyboard.
A few weeks back, I wrote these 13 prompts to reflect on your professional communication (and recommended this lit review and this lit review). People enjoyed the article, so I thought I’d make it even more accessible by creating an infographic.
For all of these, I recommend you record yourself actually talking. If you can’t do that, after you meet with someone, take the first chance you get to write everything you can remember saying. But if you really want to take it pro, you will get serious and find a way to record your actual speech (even in a simulated encounter).
So grab the voice recorder on your phone (or some paper), maybe rustle up a friend or two, and dig in!