Communication skills are verbal and non-verbal words, phrases, voice tones, facial expressions, gestures, and body language that you use in the interaction between you and another person.
Verbal communication is the ability to explain and present your ideas in clear English, to diverse audiences. This includes the ability to tailor your delivery to a given audience, using appropriate styles and approaches, and an understanding of the importance of non-verbal cues in oral communication. Oral communication requires the background skills of presenting, audience awareness, critical listening and body language.
Non-verbal communication is the ability to enhance the expression of ideas and concepts without the use of coherent labels, through the use of body language, gestures, facial expressions and tone of voice, and also the use of pictures, icons, and symbols. Non-verbal communication requires background skills such as audience awareness, personal presentation and body language.
Effective communication is an essential part of building and maintaining good physician-patient and nurse-patient relationships. These skills help people to understand and learn from each other, develop alternate perspectives, and meet each others' needs.
Hidden agendas, emotions, stress, prejudices, and defensiveness are just a few common barriers that need to be overcome in order to achieve the real goal of communication, namely mutual understanding. High Performers master and continually practice the basics, as well as prepare for these communication pitfalls. Just as successful physicians routinely practice basic medical skills, High-Performers understand that they too must pay attention to communication skills or they risk getting out of shape pretty quickly.
Communication skills in healthcare encounters
Communication skills in a healthcare setting include the way you use to:
Greeting the patient and introducing yourself and your role.Putting the patient and the family at ease, cooperative, and under control during the medical encounter.
Gather information from the patient; history taking.
Explaining to the patient what are you doing during a physical examination.
Explaining to the patient the possible diagnosis, investigation and treatment.
Involving the patient in the decision-making about his health.
Counseling the patient.Communicating with patients' relatives.
Communicating with other health care professionals.
Breaking bad news.
Seeking informed consent/clarification for an invasive procedure or obtaining consent for a post-mortem.
Dealing with difficult patients or relatives.
Giving instructions on discharge.
Giving advice on lifestyle, health promotion or risk factors.
In addition, in real medical practice, dealing with difficult patients are seen almost daily. Difficult patients are ordinary people who come to your health institute, whatever is that, because they have to, not because they want to. Sometimes, they have even been brought in unwillingly by a family member or a friend. They come in with their vast range of different personalities, cultural background, and current emotional state.
Being in a health care facility adds more worries and stresses due to lost time, expenses, and more importantly losing control. People are usually in control of what they have to do now, well at least they think so. But on the moment they put their feet in front of your registration desk, they lose this control. We, the strangers, take control!... We give instructions and orders to follow starting right from that registration desk... Give me your ID, .. insurance,.. wait there,.. sit there,.. you have to wait,.. take off your cloths,.. touching them, .. etc.
So, by the time of their medical encounter with us, the physicians, they are already up on the edge in their stress and comfort levels. And guess what, we as the highest ranking authority here and thus have to receive all the blame and deal with them in these difficult patient situations. Although, some of these people will look like trouble makers by personality, most of the exaggeration is due to the building up stress and worry, or simply part of their illness!