As a physician in one of the most diverse cities in the United States I often communicate with families with the help of an interpreter. Some see the language barrier as a compromise and a challenge. But it’s really an opportunity. What we fail to achieve with use of words we can bridge with non-verbal communication. Expression, touch, tone, and animation will ... Continue Reading about How a Language Barrier Creates Opportunity
This is my first question for hospitalized patients: Tell me what you understand. Let me explain. I’m a pediatric specialist. I help hospitalists and pediatricians care for children. Actually, I’m typically one of several providers helping families care for a medically complex children in the hospital. And for better or worse communication can sometimes be ... Continue Reading about Tell Me What You Understand: My First Question for Hospitalized Patients
A friend had asked me to see one of her neighbors. A young child with some elimination issues, the family had been to a couple of other doctors with no success. A fairly routine problem that needed the right evaluation and a consistent approach, it was sorted out in 2-3 visits. When I ran into my friend a month later, I was met with hugs and thanks for ... Continue Reading about Do Your Patients Think You’re an Amazing Doctor?
I've done some 10,000 endoscopic procedures over the past 25 years. Sometimes I offer that procedure number as a context for risk when discussing endoscopy. This morning when discussing consent with a mother she remarked, 'But this is the only one that matters.' You may have done a procedure 10,000 times. But for the individual patient there's only one that ... Continue Reading about Procedure – The Only One That Matters
Not long ago I went to my dentist for a major bit of dental work. When my dentist greeted me chair side she remarked, “So this is your big day.” And it was actually. A problem that had been an issue for some weeks was coming to a resolution. We chatted for a bit and she got to work. This idea of recognizing the magnitude of my visit stuck with me. It was ... Continue Reading about Your Big Day | Conveying Empathy in a Greeting
A grandmother brought her grandchild to see me recently. Several minutes into our dialog she stopped me, put her hand on my arm and said, "You're a fine doctor." "Thats so kind,” I said. “But, honestly, how do you know? We've barely met." She winked and said, “I can tell by how you talk to me.” After countering with the suggestion that she looked too young to ... Continue Reading about Patient Experience and the Art of Visiting