How to Talk to Patients
Throughout the first year of medical students, we are taught how to talk to and take a history from a patient. What questions to ask, how to sit with an inviting posture, when to nod your head etc.
But then we’re asked to actually talk to a patient. Not one of our friends doing a really bad roleplay but an actual, real-life patient. And wow, does that change things. You suddenly forget how to speak, rudely don’t introduce yourself and sit fiddling nervously with your name badge the entire time. Oh, and what were those questions you that were meant to ask again?
But at the end of the day, the main thing you really need to remember is that although they now carry the nametag of ‘patient’ they are after all still a human. And why does that mean you should alter how you talk to them or how you treat them? It should not. And I am more than sure that the patient would not want it to either. They, after all, want to have confidence in you as a future health care professional.
The opportunities which you receive to talk to patients and to hear their stories are the times you will learn the very most. Of course lectures and practical’s are great for giving us background information and a foundation to work upon. However, the real learning starts with the patients. They are after all masters of their own health and so can give you their personal experiences and viewpoints.
After all, if you talk to a patient like they are from a completely different planet then how are you ever going to gather information from them and take a thorough history?
About the Author
My name is Georgia and I am currently a third year medical student. I am passionate about all things mental health related. I have an Instagram page @girlwithastethoscope which follows my journey through medical school.
Visit our blog for more unique curated content and unique insights into the life of a medical student! Struggling to find motivation for this new academic year read Georgia’s post about how to maintain motivation and confidence during your medical studies.