Communication Tips – Verbal Encouragement

Communication tips by Nursing on the Move.

nom-eu-logoAre you a medical professional who uses a foreign language at work?

Have you ever been in this situation?
Not knowing how to comfort a patient in distress.
Not remembering how to say or pronounce a word.
Knowing the medical term, but not being able to explain it to a patient.
Wanting to socialise with a colleague, but being scared that the words will not come naturally.

Boost your professional interactions by trying the following tips.

Verbal Encouragement: Repetition

We show others we are paying attention through our use of verbal encouragement. These phrases are usually short and neutral, like, I see, uh huh and go on. Their function is to acknowledge patients, their story and their feelings, and let patients know that you are listening, without interrupting the flow of their speech.

– Repeating or echoing (one of) the last few words of patients’ sentences when they pause can encourage them to keep talking. Echoing the patient’s own words not only shows that you are listening and understanding them, but also enables them to hear what they have just said. This can help them refocus and make sure they are communicating what they intend.

repeat-symbol-iconThe patient says:
– … Then I suddenly felt something strange in my stomach …

You echo:

– In your stomach?

– Repetition can also be a useful technique to reinforce information when explaining a diagnosis to a patient, and planning next steps in treatment or management. In this case, you may repeat your own words to emphasize important points, or may echo the patient’s words to confirm understanding.

– This strategy should be used in moderation. Frequent echoing may be irritating, as patients may think you are parroting or mocking them. One way to avoid the impression that you are parroting is to repeat the key ideas or essence of what you heard in your own words.

Communication for Professionals logoOld-fashioned? Read a book!

You can also get communication tips printed on actual paper.

For example this one:
Communication Skills for Foreign and Mobile Medical Professionals

Published in GI-Mail 02/2019 (German and English edition). Sign up for GI-Mail here.  

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




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