Nursing

Blog spotlight: Are you and your team on automatic pilot?

Nurse Leader Insider, July 18, 2011

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By Wendy Leebov, PhD

A couple of weeks ago, I was running a workshop on The Language of Caring and how to communicate in a way that builds trust and partnership with patients and families. As we worked our way through the seven skills, we reached the part where we examined what I consider to be one of the most important skills for patient-centered communication: "explaining positive intent." This involves telling the patient (or other customer) how what you're doing is for their sake. Often, we just engage in our activities with the patient without much explanation. We're on automatic pilot and not thinking about how the patient or family member perceives what we're doing. When we do explain, the explanation typically focuses on the activity: "Here's what I'm doing." Rarely, do we go beyond saying what we're doing and articulate the benefit to the person with or on whom we're doing it.

This is a problem because:

  • Patients and families DESERVE an explanation of why we do what we do to and for them
  • Patients and families need to know our purpose so they can be more engaged partners—so they can help us achieve these purposes, perhaps in a different or better way
  • We are not seen as the caring people we are unless we make it clear to people how well-intended we are—that our actions are driven by caring about them


To read the rest of this blog post and find out strategies for engaging with patients, click here.



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