Dealing with doctors can be frightening sometimes, not to mention stressful. You’re already worried about being ill or injured, and doctors don’t always come across as the most natural communicators. Connecting with patients is part of their job, though, and there are certain things your doctors can do to help you feel more comfortable and make sure you understand everything that’s happening. If they’re not using a range of communication methods, you can speak to them about it or ask to see someone else. These are some ways your doctor might talk to you, and how you can request they help you.
Speaking in Your Language
Doctors sometimes can’t help talking in medical jargon. They know a lot of big, scientific words, and sometimes it’s hard for them to remember that not everyone understands those terms. However, most doctors will try their best not to use too much jargon when speaking to patients. They can explain things in simple language, even when the concept appears to be complicated. If you feel like you don’t understand something, ask your doctor to put it more simply and they can explain it in a different way. They might also be able to suggest some reading you can do or give you some useful materials.
Images and Other Information on Screen
Doctors will also often use visual information to help you understand something. For example, they might show you an X-ray or ultrasound image so that you can see something they found. Hospitals and medical clinics will often use special wall mounted workstations for healthcare that are designed to be easily moved around. This helps doctors and nurses to turn them into the right position, while also maintaining privacy. If you feel like seeing something visually would be helpful, you can ask for it – whether it’s an image, a chart or a video.
Body Language and Gestures
Doctors will also often use body language or various gestures to communicate with you. However, this might be something you want them to stop doing, rather than something you might ask them to do. For example, a doctor might put their hand on your shoulder to comfort you. But if that’s something that is uncomfortable, then ask them not to do it. Of course, you might welcome this type of communication, especially if you want your doctor to be more friendly and less clinical.
Allowing You Time to Talk
It’s important that doctors also listen to their patients, as well as talking to them in the right way. Whenever you’re speaking to a doctor, they should allow you the time to ask questions or express any personal concerns. If they don’t, you can make your wishes known to them directly, or you might approach someone else and let them know your worries. Sometimes having a colleague or superior ask a doctor to modify their communication strategy can be more effective.
It can be difficult to feel comfortable when talking to doctors, but remember that you, as the patient, are the one who is in charge. If you need further explanation or want to change anything, then just ask your doctor.