Communication Tips – Directive Skills Part 2: Directed Questions

Communication tips by Nursing on the Move.

nom-eu-logoAre you a professional or a pre-professional?

Do you use a second or foreign language at work?
Do you have a friend who speaks a foreign language at work or has a cultural background different from colleagues/customers?

Consultations commonly involve asking questions and gaining information. Medical professionals should always be aware that patients with a different language or cultural background may find it difficult to identify or explain their problem. Using different question types may facilitate the consultation and affect the type and amount of information the patient will provide. There are three main question types: open questions, directed questions and closed questions.

A good consultation follows a particular technique called the open-to-close cone of questioning. A good general strategy for gathering information from patients is to start with open-ended questions and move towards more focused and closed-ended questions.

Focused or directed questions generally follow open-ended questions. Directed questions allow you to ask for clarification or additional information about points the patient has raised in response to earlier questions. Responses to directed questions mainly will give you more information about the cause or nature of a problem:

Example of a good directed question:

‘Does something make your headaches change, for better or worse?’

For more information, tips and examples, go here.

(Next month: Types of questions and when to use them: Closed questions)


You can find an overview of all communication tips by Communication for Professionals here.


Excellent Communication and Influencing Presentation Skills
23. November 2015, Brussels, Belgium
Find more information here.

First Impressions – What you don’t know about how others see youbuch

By Ann Demarais, Ph.D. and Valerie White, Ph.D. 

What kind of first impression do you make? A first impression is the most important impression you’ll ever make—and you get only one chance to make it. Business deals can be made or broken, first dates become second dates or not, friendships are created or fail to form; everything hinges on that all-important initial encounter. And yet most of us don’t know how we’re really seen by others. Many of us don’t know how to make a good impression…shop the book.


What to wear today? Effect of doctor’s attire on the trust and confidence of patients

by Shakaib U. Rehman, MDcorrespondenceemail, Paul J. Nietert, PhD, Dennis W. Cope, MD, Anne Osborne Kilpatrick, DPA


There are very few studies about the impact of physicians’ attire on patients’ confidence and trust. The objective of this study was to determine whether the way a doctor dresses is an important factor in the degree of trust and confidence among respondents.


A cross-sectional descriptive study using survey methodology was conducted of patients and visitors in the waiting room of an internal medicine outpatient clinic. Respondents completed a written survey after reviewing pictures of physicians in four different dress styles. Respondents were asked questions related to their preference for physician dress as well as their trust and willingness to discuss sensitive issues…read more.”


Tip: More up to date educational events dealing with communication for doctors and health professionals can be found online in the Education Database »medicine & health«.

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