Body Language

Topics: Nonverbal communication, Culture, Sign language Pages: 2 (645 words) Published: July 28, 2013
Body language is a part of nonverbal language. It includes things such as stance, gestures, facial expressions, and even small things that are barely perceptible like a brief shrug of the shoulder or a nod of the head. It is easily confused sometimes when we speak what we are actually saying, because your body language maybe saying something different. This is why it is specifically important in the medical field to have complete control and understanding of what we are saying with our body language. We frequently communicate both bodily and verbally and an estimated 70% of what we communicate may be nonverbal. Nonverbal language is an even bigger category than body language and includes things like tone of voice.

There are many ways to learn to interpret body language but it must be understood that these are frequently specific to a culture. For instance in the US we wave good bye with the palm facing the person we’re waving to and the fingers may open and close. In other cultures, waving good bye may occur with the hand palm up to the sky and the fingers opening and closing. To people in the US, this might look like a gesture asking someone to approach rather than waving good bye. It is extremely important to always make sure you do not make or demonstrate inappropriate gestures while accompanying a patient especially from a different culture. If you aren’t sure what message you are trying to relay, it is best not to attempt to try. This way you are safe to know no one will be offended. When giving patients heartfelt news, a placing of a hand on a patient’s shoulder in our culture shows them you sympathize with what they may be going through, however in another culture placing a hand on a patient in anyway may be taken as a sign of disrespect. Depending on how well you know the patient, you can kind of get the feel as to what is and is not acceptable. It is extremely important to follow their lead and to pay close attention to them. Making eye...
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