The aim of the healthcare professional in a clinical role is to support the improvement of their patient's health. This involves using a multitude of skills in order to create a supportive environment so that the best possible results for the patient can be achieved. Patients would appear to feel more satisfied and to respond positively to the helper when “They are welcomed and seen on time
They feel they have been heard and understood
They are given information they recognise as relevant to them They understand what they have to do.”
[Gable 2007 pg.5]
In this essay I aim to explore some of the methods, approaches and skills available to a helper in a communication with a patient and how I put these to use in a specific interaction with one of my patients drawing on the research available to support the clinical approach I use. I will look at the effectiveness of the skills I have used and what I now do differently as a result of completing the counselling course. Background Information
The communication used was a twenty minute appointment which took place in a dietetic weight management clinic setting approximately two months ago. It was my first time seeing the patient after they saw another member of the team twice before. The patient had taken on board healthy eating advice from the last session but hadn’t increased exercise yet as they reported their lifestyle to be too busy. They had lost weight since the last appointment as a result of the postive dietary changes implemented. Outcomes from this appointment were to increase activity to four times a week -we decided on three different methods which could be used to achieve this goal which we fit in around their current lifestyle. We also agreed that they would continue with the achieved changes from the previous session. Ethics and Confidentiality
I obtained verbal consent to use the consultation for the purpose of this essay. I maintained confidentiality throughout the appointment and during all contact with the patient and with the use of their information. I didn't explain to the patient that our appointment was confidential or outline the limits of confidentiality as this had been discussed in their first appointment with the service. I possibly could have reassured the patient of this at the beginning of the appointment. As I saw other patients in the clinic, I made sure patient files were kept out of the view of other patients and were kept securely at all times. I ensured the room was quiet, private and confidential without distractions and minimal disruptions. In all areas of my work I strive to work within an ethical framework.
“Patient Health outcomes can be improved with good physician-patient communication.” [Stewart 1995]. As a practitioner it is important to demonstrate that the patient’s viewpoint has been understood by using reflective listening skills which can include non verbal, verbal and para-verbal communication. In the appointment I used various communication skills in order create a patient-centred environment.
Non-Verbal -including SOLER
I found that I naturally use a lot of non verbal skills in order to let the patient know that I am listening to them and that they have my full attention. These include sitting in a position facing them with open body language and keeping my focus solely on the patient so that it appears that they have my full attention and can feel encouraged to open up to me and feel comfortable in the situation. I maintained good eye contact with the patient, nodding when necessary to let them know I had received the information they were giving me and wanted them to continue. Throughout the majority of the appointment I used quite a neutral facial expression during the session and felt this was important in particularly when I found out that the patient hadn’t been successful with certain previous goals. I did however use positive facial expressions when I heard about the changes they had made, when we...
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