Good morning everyone. We took a week off from our series of messages last week while Coliseum Northside and most of our division hospitals were dealing with the effects of Hurricane Florence. I’m glad to be back today with our sixth message – Listening to Hear.
“You must be aware that you constantly send nonverbal messages and that it is impossible for you to not communicate.” Robert W. Lucas
There is no doubt that our patients, family members and other visitors want to be heard. Patients and families are often anxious, in an unfamiliar environment and perhaps facing life-changing situations. The events of last week highlight just how unfamiliar a hospital environment can be under certain circumstances. Actively listening is a supreme show of respect and is a practice that leads to safer, high quality health care experiences.
This week, I am asking each of you to find ways to demonstrate excellent listening skills.
Some suggestions of how include:
- Stop talking and listen. Don’t rush patients as they are communicating their needs.
- Don’t plan your reply while the patient/family are still talking. Maintain eye contact and be fully present.
- Ask questions. Don’t hesitate to ask others to elaborate if the message is unclear. Don’t forget this also applies in our health care team interactions.
- Watch for non-verbal communication that might represent discomfort, confusion or anxiety so you can respond appropriately.
I’m asking each department leader to identify ways you and your team can share how you’ve taken action to demonstrate “listening to hear.” Discuss examples in your shift huddles and departmental meetings. Encourage your team to write examples of how they have demonstrated this behavior on dry erase or poster boards in the staff lounge. Share with each other and celebrate the success of your department as you live our Mission:
Above all else, we are committed to the care and improvement of human life.