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The Patient - Practitioner relationship

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The Patient - Practitioner relationship a). Outline one study examining interpersonal skills in the patient-practitioner relationship. (6) b). Discuss problems involved in researching interpersonal skills in the patient-practitioner relationship. (10) Part A In 1984, two researchers named Beckman and Frankel taped 74 office consultations involving doctors and their patients. It came to their notice that surprisingly doctors were not particularly good listeners. The doctors who took part within this study had shockingly terrible listening skills and this lead to some very interesting results for Beckman and Frankel. Beckman and Frankel found that, in responding to the doctors' opening questions, patients were able to speak for an average of just 18 seconds before being interrupted. Therefore, at least one patient was allowed to talk on about their condition for nearly two-and-a-half minutes before the doctor cut him off. That means that, to achieve the 18-second average, that Beckman and Frankel recorded quite a few consultations must have been extremely simplistic. The doctor probably gave them a few seconds to tell them what their problem was without even listening to their actual problem. ...read more.


* Listening helps avoid malpractice claims. An ABA survey of med-mal defense attorneys indicates that about 75% of claims result from poor communication between doctor and patient. And (as anyone who has ever been married knows) about 90% of communication is listening. Two of the keys to being a good listener are (1) the ability to put yourself in the client's shoes (be sure to secure the client's permission first, always use a shoe horn and have plenty of foot powder on hand) and (2) remembering two cardinal rules of client relations: * While few clients can appreciate your technical skill, most are keenly aware of how you treat them. * Given the choice, most people would rather empty bedpans than visit a lawyer. The day they come to see you for the first time may be the worst day of their lives. Whatever their dilemma - death, divorce, dispute - and whether they're a CEO or a homemaker, by the time you see them they probably aren't hitting on all cylinders. If there's ever going to be a time when they need for someone to listen to them, this may be it. ...read more.


Pay attention to your body language. Assume an open posture; avoid folding your arms across your chest. Lean toward your client or sit up straight. You may think that leaning back with your feet on the desk projects an air of comfort and familiarity, but clients may interpret it as indifference (especially if you doze off) or arrogance. Maintaining eye contact or something close to it is a good way to let your client feel like you're paying attention. Look at them, but don't bore a hole through their head. To keep your eyes from glazing over, occasionally shift your gaze from their eyes to their mouth, nose, chin, etc. If you practice juvenile law, you can also study their facial jewelry and read their tattoos. It's okay (and in some cases, downright essential) to look away from them now and then, but only briefly and never to look outside. While the histrionics of weighing the legal pluses and minuses of their situation may dictate that you gaze out your window, that's a sure-fire signal to insecure clients that you are not listening, couldn't care less about them and wish you were out at the club. ?? ?? ?? ?? Vinesh Naidoo 1 Psych/01 ...read more.

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