The process of making a patient feel better is a holistic process that requires considerations beyond treating the particular disease. In truism, the process is a complex one that requires the technical expertise of doctors and physicians. To this end, studies indicate that excellent communication skills by doctors improve the overall compliance and satisfaction levels of patients. There are some communication components such as listening and paying attention to verbal and non-verbal cues used by patients that are set as the basic principles of practicing communication in a healthcare system. Familiarizing with the nature, prognosis, and course of the disease is essential as it allows doctors to adequately explain to patients as well as attendants the necessity and yield of complex procedures. A physician should be particularly cautious when managing difficult encounters such as the disclosure of bad news. That said, formal training of doctors is essential to instill necessary communication skills that are required for increased patient satisfaction. Regarding interpersonal communication, the topic of listening is especially crucial in doctor and patient situations or contexts. This paper presents critical evidence culled from scholarly research providing that active listening skills enhance a doctors understanding of a patient’s needs and can improve the quality of a doctor-to-patient relationship.
The importance of listening skills transcends beyond academic and professional settings in that it creates a true doctor-patient relationship in a healthcare setting which is essential for therapeutic success. In essence, it is a process that involves imbibing that is passed on either verbally or non-verbally by the patient. There is no doubt that this is indeed a significant part of the communication process as it allows for a better understanding of the patient’s predicaments so that favorable decisions can be made. Studies that aimed at establishing reasons for litigation against doctors revealed that quite some cases were due to dissatisfaction where patients claimed that the doctors had failed to listen to them and could therefore not understand their problems in a proper manner.
Onwards, listening encompasses not only the verbal aspect of communication but also expressions passed by certain attitudes, needs, and motives behind the words. Thus, the goal of listening is to delve into the social, emotional, and physical quality of life to provide better care. This can be achieved by making the patient comfortable whenever you are conversing with them. For example, it is inappropriate for doctors to engage patients in communication when they are walking in the corridors they should instead show interest to whatever they are saying by leaning toward them or by using other mannerisms and body gesture tactics to engage them fully. Notably, mannerisms, like holding hands, patting shoulders or nodding, may convince patients that you care for them, and this may, in turn, cause them to have a soft spot for you where they will feel comfortable disclosing their problems elaborately. Despite the fact that mannerism is considered an essential etiquette in westernized culture, it is not socially acceptable in other parts of the world including India. Finally, when listening to patients, doctors shouldn’t interrupt them when they are expressing something and when they are done doctors should be in a position to ask the patients whether they need further assistance.
Excellent listening skills by doctors are considered “a need of the hour” in westernized countries because it plays a crucial role in reducing the conflict between doctors and patients. Disputes arising due to poor listening skills by the doctors or physicians can be easily avoided by giving an ear to the patients as well as their families. It is essential to take note of the fact that excellent communication in the healthcare industry is integral to building a beneficial relationship between doctors and patients. By listening attentively, the diagnostic abilities of the doctor are elevated, and they are better placed to advise on patients’ problems. Moreover, the doctor can deal with any form of emotional outburst by the patient through continuous counseling and therapy sessions. In essence, the burden of stress is reduced while job satisfaction levels are increased simultaneously. The patient’s level of satisfaction is also increased whenever a physician listens and offers treatment or prescriptions in accordance with what they hear. The compliance levels to advice by patients as shown by various research studies also increase. This has an overall positive effect on patients’ psychology, tolerance power, mental health, and quality of life.