Why bother explaining things to your patients? Carl Morris explains why proper communication is so important
- By: Carl Morris
Interviewer: “So why do you want to be a doctor?”
Student: “Well, I want to be able to help people.” (Actually, it's because I'm good at sciences and I couldn't think of anything else to do/my parents told me to/I wanted to make sure I'd have a job after university.)
Interviewer: “What are the most important qualities for a doctor?”
Student: “Communication skills, empathy, diagnostic ability.” (Erm, being good at exams/knowing the right consultants/memory of ER episodes.)
Communication operates on lots of different levels. One of the most useful skills that health professionals can learn is how to pick up unspoken messages.
Yet we medical students often seem to undervalue communication training - once we've got ourselves on to a course by saying the right thing at interview, that is. “Communication skills” training either induces yawns from those who know it all already, or terror from those who hate any