When you are with a patient whose emotions are running high, acknowledging their emotion by naming it can help that person move forward in the conversation. But there are pitfalls with naming too - see what we recommend to make your NURSE statements more effective!
Trying for the perfect phrase? Going for perfect sometimes has a paradoxical effect--try tinkering instead! Then, track the effects of your communication experiments. And if you're in Chicago at #hpm16, say hello!
Have you ever asked a patient what they're hoping for, and they reply: "I'm hoping for a cure". When your medical judgment tells you that a cure isn't in the cards? The first time this happened to me, I didn't quite know what to reply: "Uh, well, i'm feeling like i wished i hadn't asked that question?" Not so good. Fortunately, there is something you can say: in fact, you can align with your patient, and even keep the conversation moving forward. Check it out... With special thanks to the Vitaltalkers we met in Copenhagen!
In the process of cultivating prognostic awareness, you'll hear patients (& families) swing from extreme to extreme. What to do? (Hint: it's about your own reactivity...). A tip of my hat to Vicki Jackson for this one! Check out her terrific communication guide on prognostic awareness.
You’re talking about something serious, your patient isn’t saying much, so you keep going...and going. Then later, your patient asks again--because they didn't get it. It's an all-too-common pitfall you can avoid: don’t assume that ‘quiet’ = ‘listening and understanding’. ‘Quiet’ might be the best face possible—put on by a patient who is experiencing something very different internally…
Two notable contributions to the public dialogue about living and dying with a serious illness appeared this week. David Bowie's stunning album, Blackstar was released just before his death was announced; and Paul Kalanithi's memoir of his life as a neurosurgeon with cancer was published posthumously--with a pointed lesson for clinicians.
We all have emotions while we're with patients—and we all need calibration so that we can distinguish whether we are feeling something that started with our patient, or something that started with ourselves. Find out how you can be clearer in the moment—and more effective as a communicator.
Do you ever walk in with your agenda but find your patient's head is somewhere else? Try this principle from improvisational theatre...
When you’re in the middle of a conversation, your ability to switch between fast and slow thinking can make the difference between one step forward and two steps backwards. See how in this week’s tip!