Communication Tips – Understandable Language

10. Januar 2017 at 10:09

Understandable nom-eu-logolanguage uses simple, recognisable and clear words and phrases to ask questions, to explain, for example, symptoms and examinations and plan, for instance further tests and treatment. It avoids jargon, abbreviations and other difficult or complex words and phrases.

Instead of saying: Do you feel better or do you still feel the pain? (a double question)
You should say: Do you feel better? (single question)

Sometimes jargon, abbreviations and in general more complex words and phrases cannot be avoided. In this case, it is best to apologise and then do what you can to help make this complex language easier for the patient to understand.  Some strategies for doing this are:

  • Breaking long explanations down into smaller, more digestible ‘chunks’ (see June 2016). Check that the patient has understood each chunk before moving on to the next.

Example
I will tell you what I think is wrong, then what I expect to happen and finally what can be done.
  • Using logical structuring to make these chunks easier to understand, and to connect to each other.

Example

 I will first tell you what I think is wrong, then what I expect to happen and finally what can be done.

  • Using explicit categorisation to make these chunks easier to understand, and to connect to each other.

Example

I will now tell you what I think is wrong, then what I expect to happen and finally what can be done.

 

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© 2017 Communication for Professionals

You can find an overview of all communication tips here.

 

Essential Communication Skills for Nursing & Midwifery

by Philippa Sully, Joan Dallas

Effective communication skills are crucial in all aspects of nursing and midwifery practice – this book will enable readers to communicate effectively and with confidence in their professional practice. It focuses on the communication skills needed for the development of effective professional and therapeutic relationships…. shop the book

An Evidence-Based Perspective on Greetings in Medical Encounters

by G. Makoul, A. Zick, M. Green

Widely used models for teaching and assessing communication skills highlight the importance of greeting patients appropriately, but there is little evidence regarding what constitutes an appropriate greeting… read more

 

Published in GI-Mail 01/2017 (English + German edition). Sign up for GI-Mail here.  

Tip: More up to date educational events can be found online in the Education Database »medicine & health«.