With any new patient interaction there are always elephants in the room.
These create noise.
These unspoken preconceptions (from both parties) muffle the communication interplay.
As the guide for the encounter, your role is to wade through the noise and identify and address the cornerstone concerns.
Answering these 5 questions often casts a wide enough net to wrangle up most of the loitering elephants.
- What’s wrong with me
- What can you do to help?
- What can I do to help?
- How long will this take?
- What are my options If this doesn’t help?
Do not mistake the need to address these questions with the need to provide answers or certainty. Simply provide possibilities and perspective. Follow up with actionable steps and check point for follow up.
“Mrs. Smith based off of our conversation and assessment your issue is likely being driven by some combination of A, B, and C. This is a normal process and certainly something our bodies can adapt and heal from. We are going to try D, E, and F first. We will do D and E together here and I would like you to really focus on F at home. In 2-3 weeks we will re-assess and adapt based on how things are going. If things are not moving in the direction we would like in 6-8 weeks I will likely recommend X”