You might not see it this way, but good healthcare is about good communication. No matter what your profession within healthcare or where you work, communication skills will make or break your career. Here’s why.
1. People are afraid, sometimes very afraid, of medical professionals.
Not wanting to go to the doctor isn’t just for kids. Iatrophobia, or the fear of doctors, is one of the most common phobias! A little anxiety over a doctors’ visit is one thing, but thousands of people experience panic attacks, raised blood pressure, and accelerated breathing at the prospect of visiting a doctor. Nobody’s really sure why it happens: some of these people have had bad experiences with doctors in the past, while others just can’t stand the sterile environment of a doctor’s office.
Either way, communication is the way to break this wall. In medical school, many doctors take classes to practice what’s called “bedside manner” – the way doctors interact with patients. Even if you aren’t a doctor, once you put on the uniform of a medical professional, it’s important to have a bedside manner. People are a little scared of you, and if you can put them at ease, you’ll go far.
2. Doctors can be hard to understand.
If you’re a medical assistant or medical administrative assistant, you’ve had some training in medical terminology. Most people haven’t. As a result, when the average person visits the doctor’s office, they hear words like “hypertension,” and they might not even know what that means. But if they can’t understand their doctors, people won’t benefit nearly as much from their care. If you work with a doctor and can help patients understand their diagnoses and medications, you’ll become an invaluable resource anywhere.
3. Medical teams need to work quickly and efficiently.
Being able to communicate with your team is essential, and not just in a surgical setting. You might be a receptionist at a hospital or small medical practice, and a person could start to feel dizzy or faint. You need to act – fast. You need to be able to get your team together and help that person.
No matter where you work, at one point or another, something won’t go exactly as planned, or you’ll need to think and act on your feet. If you can speak clearly and directly in a time of urgency, you’ll be a valuable employee, but more importantly, you will save lives.
4. Patients go to professionals who can relate to them.
Finally and most importantly, there are lots of medical facilities, and patients often choose based on the communication skills of the people who work there. As a physical therapy aide, poor communication skills could make a customer feel uncomfortable in a setting that may already be difficult for him or her. As a massage therapist, your communication abilities could definitely gain or lose customers for you and your organization. The fact is that people want medial treatment, but more importantly, they want healers who seem invested in their wellness. If you can communicate that you care, you’ll light up your entire workplace.