As a healthcare professional your vocabulary is probably full of words that evoke compassion, sympathy, empathy, concern and hope.
But when it comes to patient care, you can say nothing at all and still connect with your patients – as well as their caregivers.
Read below for five non-verbal ways you can connect with your patients, and why and how these connections can be so beneficial to your patients’ care outcomes.
- When speaking, watch the tone of your voice; it connotes a lot more information than any words you may be speaking. For example, you may be saying how great it is to see someone, but the tone of your voice may say that you’re not interested at all, that you’re stressed, that your unfocused, etc. Instead, if you want to show real interest in someone, use an animated tone of voice.
- Look people directly in the eye, when speaking and when listening. If you’re speaking to someone and not looking at them, it can give the impression that you’re trying to hide something or that you’re lying. However, too much eye contact can come across as aggressive and confrontational. Some experts believe that the best amount of eye contact are intervals of from four to five seconds (look at the person for four or five seconds, then look away for a bit, then look back directly into the person’s eyes for four or five seconds, and so on).
- Smile, but do so sincerely. When meeting with a patient and his or caregivers, make sure any smile your give is sincere (humans can tell when a smile is strained or false, even if they don’t consciously see the falsity, they sense it unconsciously). A sincere smile connotes warmth, friendship/camaraderie, empathy and sympathy. People like people who smile at them – they feel liked by the person smiling and so feel better.
- Be aware of your body language. If a patient or caretaker is angry at you and you place your arms across your body, this can come across as defensive, angry and intimidating. Are you open when you speak with patient or family member? That is, are your arms at your side (if not holding something), is your stance open? Are you facing the person directly, or do you have most of your body turned away? Your body language can shout very loudly to someone. Make sure yours is speaking the same language as your words.
If you’re looking for travel nursing opportunities, or opportunities in OT, PT, speech therapy, or pharmacy skills, contact the recruiters at MedPro Healthcare Staffing. We look forward to discussing our travel opportunities with you.