"Effective Patient-Physician Communication" is an excellent example of a paper on the health system. Before reporting to the clinic, I made a personal objective to learn first-hand about effective communication between the physician and the patient. This decision was based on literature that I had read emphasizing the importance of effective communication between a patient and a healthcare professional. The authors advised that patient-centred communication resulted in better outcomes of therapy (Pinto et al. , 2012). Consequently, I decided to apply this knowledge and also learn from my experience with the patients. Throughout the day, I attended to several patients with different conditions and personalities.
I engaged each of them in a meaningful discussion about their conditions and, the best way to manage them. Several patients raised complaints regarding their encounter with other health practitioners. They said that most health practitioners rarely listen to the patients, and adopt a one-sided conversation where the physician talks and the patient is supposed to listen and obey religiously. Some patients complained that they did not understand the explanations of the physicians but were afraid of asking for clarification, for fear of being labelled ‘ difficult’ .
Others thought that the physicians asked too much information regarding their private lives, without explaining why they needed such information. I aimed to make sure that I had achieved my objectives. I learned that patients wanted to be treated like human beings, and the doctors should have normal conversations with them instead of merely dictating terms for the patient to adhere to. I also learned that some patients had emotional problems as the underlying cause of the symptoms. I advised such patients to seek the services of a counsellor first, before embarking on medication.
I also learned that most patients want to know more about their statuses and required guidance while looking for information. I recommended reliable sources of information for such patients and also where they could get support, such as online forums. I identified several things that I would do the same in my subsequent encounters with patients. These include engaging in meaningful dialogue with the patients, empathizing with them and seeking their opinions on the best way to manage their situations. Research has shown that empathy is of unquestionable importance in the clinical setting (Derksen & Lagro-Janssen, 2013).
It is the primary characteristic of patient-physician communication and is effective in ensuring patient satisfaction, reduction of tension and stress, and desirable clinical outcomes. However, I noted that very lengthy conversations with patients consumed much time, and some patients may have missed the chance to be attended to. I noted that future encounters with patients would have to be within a reasonable time limit. As a family nurse practitioner, communication with my patients is of utmost importance.
Effective communication creates a sense of trust between the physician and patient, thus increases the chances of positive health outcomes (Hansen, Hodgson & Gitlin, 2015). Furthermore, patient-centred communication, in conjunction with shared decision-making has been shown to improve clinical outcomes (Brand & Stiggelbout, 2013; Barry & Edgman-Levitan, 2012). Also, the patient is more open to self-care when the decision is made together with the physician, thus increasing chances of recovery and reducing the negative effects of the disease.
Barry, M. J., & Edgman-Levitan, S. (2012). Shared decision making—the pinnacle of patient centered care. New England Journal of Medicine, 366(9), 780-781.
Brand, P. L., & Stiggelbout, A. M. (2013). Effective follow-up consultations: the importance of patient-centered communication and shared decision making. Paediatric respiratory reviews, 14(4), 224-228.
Derksen, F., Bensing, J., & Lagro-Janssen, A. (2013). Effectiveness of empathy in general practice: a systematic review. British Journal of General Practice, 63(606), e76-e84.
Hansen, B. R., Hodgson, N. A., & Gitlin, L. N. (2015). It’s a Matter of Trust Older African Americans Speak About Their Health Care Encounters. Journal of Applied Gerontology, 0733464815570662.
Pinto, R. Z., Ferreira, M. L., Oliveira, V. C., Franco, M. R., Adams, R., Maher, C. G., & Ferreira, P. H. (2012). Patient-centred communication is associated with positive therapeutic alliance: a systematic review. Journal of physiotherapy, 58(2), 77-87.