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Listening to feel the beat of your patient’s heart (without a stethoscope)

Who hasn’t left a medical appointment feeling only half understood?

Patients often complain of doctors not properly listening to them and receiving hasty advice.

But these days most doctors have to cope with an overwhelming workload and ever-growing administration.

Plus the increasing use of computers means physicians are often typing while speaking with patients, reducing eye contact.

So it’s hardly surprising that time to listen is limited.

And when English is a struggle for either or both patient and health professional, successful communication becomes even harder.

Yet without careful listening to words and noticing of body language, can more than a partial picture of the patient’s problem be grasped?

Listening with empathy to understand and build connections is the solution.

It’s more than just saying mmI see and I’m sorry to hear that.

The goal is to paint a complete picture of the patient’s problem.

Rather than assuming.

Listening carefully to what patients are really saying can make a difference in how they feel and so how they heal.

Need help to practise empathic listening in English? Get in touch.

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© Christina Wielgolawski