(1) Silence can be used to communicate the deepest kind of love and
devotion, when words are not needed.
(2) Silence can be a cold and rejecting sort of punishment, the "silent
treatment" received for coming home late or forgetting an anniversary.
(3) Silence can be used in an interview or conversation to encourage the
other person to "open up." Conversely, it can be used to intentionally create anxiety
and discomfort in the other person.
e. Listening. As a patient speaks, think about what he must be feeling.
Sometimes, as a listener, you must cut through layers of words to get to the real
message. You must read between the lines. Pick up the underlying meaning of the
message (intent); don't rely entirely upon the obvious or superficial meaning (content).
1-15. GUIDELINES FOR COMMUNICATING WITH PATIENTS AND THEIRFAMILIES
a. Convey to the patient and family that they are important to you and that you
want to help them. There are many ways to do this; you must do what is comfortable
and natural for you. However, there are some things everyone can do.
b. Convey honesty and trustworthiness.
(1) Try not to overwhelm the patient with embarrassing or personal
questions. When it is necessary to ask personal questions, explain why and keep it
short and matter-of-fact.
(2) Don't make promises you can't keep. If you say you are going to do
something, make every effort to do it or see that it gets done.
Try to be there when you say you will. If you are late, explain why.
c. Communicate with each patient as an individual. (This is especially important
in a hospital setting, where patients often experience a loss of identity.) In order to do
so, you must try to get to know the patient. Listen to him. Put yourself in his place.
d. Accept and respect the patient despite the symptoms of his illness.
1-16. TECHNIQUES FOR COMMUNICATING WITH PATIENTS
a. Establishing the Setting.
Provide a comfortable environment (lighting, temperature, furnishings).
Establish a relaxed, unhurried setting.