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    Becoming a better listener for the sake of your patients

    Editor’s Note: Welcome to “Eye Catching: Let's Chat,” a blog series featuring contributions from members of the ophthalmic community. These blogs are an opportunity for ophthalmic bloggers to engage with readers with about a topic that is top of mind, whether it is practice management, experiences with patients, the industry, medicine in general, or healthcare reform. The series continues with this blog by Donna Suter, president of Suter Consulting Group. The views expressed in these blogs are those of their respective contributors and do not represent the views of  Ophthalmology Times or UBM Advanstar.


    Can you see what I am saying?

    If there is one secret to success, it lies in the ability to get to the other person’s point of view and see things from his angle as well as your own. – Henry Ford

    Henry Ford is confirming that flexibility is the key to understanding another’s point of view. As an eye care provider, you know that people are more receptive to messages that are synchronous with their own orientation to speed, detail, task or relationships. It’s why it is important to adapt to each patient.

    Combatting UPP at the source

    One might perceive a quick walk to the pretest area as efficient, while another would complain about feeling rushed. The second, more Type B patient, is most comfortable walking slowly and speaking to everyone else he or she sees.

    Verbally, connecting with a patient happens when the doctor and employees listen carefully to the speaker/patient’s word choices.

    One of the greatest gifts you can give is attentive listening. This is only possible when you quiet your thoughts, questions, and preconceived notions.

    Employees and doctors will be perceived as poor listeners when:

    ·      Someone says something significant and we stop listening and go off into our own thoughts to find a solution or compose a response

    ·      Outside distractions, such as beginning a diagnostic test or chart documentation, compete with our focus

    ·      We consider the information boring or repetitive, which shuts down the left hemisphere.

    There are specific things you can do as a listener that will enhance your ability to stay focused. These include making eye contact and little head nods and neutral comments.

    Next: Revealing patients' communication styles

    Donna Suter
    Donna Suter is president of Suter Consulting Group.

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