Let Patients Have Their Say
During an average patient visit how much time do you spend talking? It may seem natural that you would be the one with more to say during a consultation; after all you are the expert and it’s your role to explain the diagnosis and lay out the treatment options in comprehensive detail. Being prepared is knowing what to say and how to say it.
But it’s just as important to know when to not say anything, when to sit back and listen and make notes on what the patient is telling you. It can be something direct and in response to a question, like when a new patient explains their expectations and desires for their oral health.
Or it can be indirect, like when they’re chatting about a milestone change in their life (a new job, an upcoming wedding), which might indicate that they would be open to re-visiting some discretionary treatment options. The point is every patient has important things to tell you about how best to serve their needs if you take the time to really listen.
So if you find yourself several minutes into a monologue where all the patient has done is nod and say “uh-huh,” remind yourself to pause and ask some “listening questions.” If only one of you is doing the talking, only one of you is learning something.