My New York Times Word of the Day: blah, blah, blah

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? 


About msvoss

Melinda Voss, MPH, APR, is a freelance writer, editor and public relations specialist. A staff writer for The Des Moines Register and Tribune for nearly 26 years, she has won regional and national awards and taught undergraduate and graduate journalism courses at three universities. In 1999, she earned a master's degree in public health from the University of Minnesota after co-founding the Association of Health Care Journalists in 1997. Voss initially served as the association's unpaid coordinator, then became the executive director from 1999 to 2004. She then became the public relations director for the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system and served in that position until November 2012. She earned her APR, an accreditation in public relations, in 2011.
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