What consumer hasn’t listened to a medical professional and wondered: What the heck did that person just say? Too often, much of what a physician or other medical professional says sounds like “Blah, blah, blah, Heart Attack blah, blah, blah Cancer.” to the patient, notes Theresa Brown in her Bedside column, “Lost in Clinical Translation.” I’ve certainly had those experiences as a patient. As she notes, “I don’t mean to blame doctors and nurses; it can be very hard to slow down and tune in to a patient’s wavelength when you have other patients and countless pressing tasks to get to.” I take her point not simply to heighten awareness of this issue within the medical community but to consider that everyone does this. When did you last notice someone with whom you were talking had a blank expression? What I realize about myself is that too often I have kept talking. I have not taken the cue that all my listener was hearing was “Blah, blah, And then Blah, Blah.” Noise and nothing else. Clear communication requires that the speaker makes certain the listener is engaged in listening. Something to ponder in my next conversation. How about you?
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