Section I. INTRODUCTION
a. If you were to ask ten people to define the word "communication," you might
get ten different definitions. Some people believe that talking is communicating. Yet we
have all seen examples of people who can talk to each other for hours without
exchanging a bit of meaningful information. We have also seen people who seem to
relate beautifully to each other's feelings without uttering a word.
b. Talking is one way of communicating, but there are other, probably more
critical, requirements for achieving effective communication. You can speak beautifully
on a particular subject, covering every important aspect of that subject, but if the person
to whom you are speaking is not listening, are you communicating? Or if that person
hears every word you say, but, as you speak, you notice an expression of doubt or
confusion coming over his face, can you feel sure he received the message you were
trying to convey? Communication has taken place only if the message you wanted to
send has been accurately received.
COMMUNICATION IN THE HEALTH CARE SETTING
As a health care provider, you must keep in mind that the quality of care you
provide is, in many ways, dependent on the quality of the communication that exists
between you and your patient. Through your direct contact, the patient must perceive
your intentions of support and your positive expectations. You must accurately assess
the patient's emotional symptoms and, depending upon your particular role, the physical
Section II. LISTENING SKILLS
ARE YOU LISTENING?
a. We have all, at some point(s) in our lives, experienced being ignored. Try to
recall a particular situation in which you were speaking but the "listener" was not quite
listening. He may have been pretending to listen, nodding at all the appropriate times,
looking into your eyes as you spoke, but you knew he was not really listening. How did
you feel about this experience--angry, hurt, indifferent?