Communication in Healthcare

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When we first think of professions involving public speaking, fields like law, politics, or acting may first come to mind with their intense debates and confident monologues. Healthcare may not be the first association to come to mind, but public speaking is an essential tool for healthcare workers. Without good communication skills, conveying important information to families and building trust with patients becomes impossible.


Personally, I am still a high school student. However, I surround myself with other students who similarly gravitate to STEM-related courses like biology, chemistry, anatomy, and physics. I have already begun to witness how among students pursuing healthcare careers (from high school to undergraduate studies to medical school) there is a tendency to become absorbed in the scientific or other academic aspects of medicine rather than the human aspects. Until they are faced with patients in rotations and residency, students focus on understanding complex concepts and perfecting their technical skills. While this is crucial for a solid knowledge base, we must remember that good communication is just as critical.


Let’s explore some scenarios where a medical professional could use their impressive communication skills.


Team Collaboration: Complex cases can require collaboration between different professionals working together as a team. Sharing critical patient information between doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and others involved is crucial to coordinating treatment plans that will work for the patient’s situation.


Patient Consultation: Sometimes, a patient is facing a major life event related to their health, such as receiving a diagnosis for a chronic illness they will have to deal with for the rest of their lives. While dealing carefully with this sensitive issue so as to not upset the patient, a medical professional will still have to communicate symptoms, treatment options, and lifestyle changes relating to the condition.


Medical Briefings: Families that gather to receive updates on a loved one’s medical procedure must be treated compassionately. Good communication will create the trust that will be the basis of the relationship.


Health Education: In certain careers like community health nursing, one might need to host educational sessions for the public to gain awareness about something. A nurse may need to adapt their communication style for different levels of health literacy, so that everyone can make the best decisions about their well-being.


Communication is essential to the field of medicine. By practicing public speaking and communication skills early on, a future medical student can be well-equipped to adapt to different situations while delivering information to the best of their ability.

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