can get a better idea of how other people may be "reading" you. In fact, when you
come into contact with another person, it is quite difficult, if not impossible, to avoid
communication altogether. Everything you do (or fail to do) says something about you.
Look at yourself right now. If someone were watching you, what kind of messages
would he be receiving? What clues would he be picking up about your feelings?
c. Nonverbal communication is a vital part of health care. Because of the fears
and anxieties many patients are experiencing, chances are they will be especially
sensitive to nonverbal signs. And people trying to be "good patients" would rather rely
on these signs than ask questions. A smile or warm expression might communicate
genuine concern. A harsh look or quick pace could make the patient feel the medical
provider is too busy for him. A certain stare or glance could bring on a negative
interpretation, whereas failure to look the patient in the eye at all can make him feel less
than human. You already know what the signs can imply about you. So pay close
attention to what you are "telling" people.
d. Likewise, health care providers cannot depend on words alone to get an
adequate picture of the patient's symptoms and feelings. Facial expression can provide
an indication of intensity of pain. From the tone of the patient's voice, the provider can
sense fear, anger, sadness, joy, or pain. Squirming, pacing, or tapping generally imply
restlessness, etc. Some patients may feel embarrassed or uncomfortable expressing
their feelings verbally due to a number of possible factors, such as upbringing, cultural
background, past experiences, or personality. But they often cannot avoid or are not
aware of nonverbal expressions.