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        Integrated Comprehensive Clinical & Communication Skills Approach For Patient Interviews & OSCE Exams

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Clinical Skills Assessment Medical OSCE Exam (OSCE home)

How To Improve My Communication Skills?

Communication Skills For Healthcare Professionals

 

What is communication skills?

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Communication skills are verbal and non-verbal words, phrases, voice tones, facial expressions, gestures, and body language that you use in the interaction between you and another person.

 

Verbal communication  is the ability to explain and present your ideas in clear English, to diverse audiences. This includes the ability to tailor your delivery to a given audience, using appropriate styles and approaches, and an understanding of the importance of non-verbal cues in oral communication. Oral communication requires the background skills of presenting, audience awareness, critical listening and body language.

 

Non-verbal communication is the ability to enhance the expression of ideas and concepts without the use of coherent labels, through the use of body language, gestures, facial expressions and tone of voice, and also the use of pictures, icons, and symbols. Non-verbal communication requires background skills such as audience awareness, personal presentation and body language.

 

Effective communication is an essential part of building and maintaining good physician-patient and physician-colleague relationships. These skills help people to understand and learn from each other, develop alternate perspectives, and meet each others' needs.

 

Hidden agendas, emotions, stress, prejudices, and defensiveness are just a few common barriers that need to be overcome in order to achieve the real goal of communication, namely mutual understanding. High Performers master and continually practice the basics, as well as prepare for these communication pitfalls. Just as successful physicians routinely practice basic medical skills, High-Performers understand that they too must pay attention to communication skills or they risk getting out of shape pretty quickly.

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Communication skills in healthcare

Communication skills in a healthcare setting include the way you use to:

  • Explaining diagnosis, investigation and treatment.
  • Involving the patient in the decision-making.
  • Communicating with relatives.
  • Communicating with other health care professionals.
  • Breaking bad news.
  • Seeking informed consent/clarification for an invasive procedure or obtaining consent for a post-mortem.
  • Dealing with anxious patients or relatives.
  • Giving instructions on discharge.
  • Giving advice on lifestyle, health promotion or risk factors.

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Diffcult OSCEs - AnxiousIn real medical practice, dealing with difficult patients are seen almost daily. Difficult patients are ordinary people who come to your health institute, whatever is that, because they have to, not because they want to. Sometimes, they have even been brought in unwillingly by a family member or a friend. They come in with their vast range of different personalities, cultural background, and current emotional state. 

 

Being in a health care facility adds more worries and stresses due to lost time, expenses, and more importantly losing control. People are usually in control of what they have to do now, well at least they think so. But on the moment they put their feet in front of your registration desk, they lose this control. We, the strangers, take control!... We give instructions and orders to follow starting right from that registration desk... Give me your ID, .. insurance,.. wait there,.. sit there,.. you have to wait,.. take off your cloths,.. touching them, .. etc. 

 

So, by the time of their medical encounter with us, the physicians, they are already up on the edge in their stress and comfort levels. And guess what, we as the highest ranking authority here and thus have to receive all the blame and deal with them in these difficult patient situations. Although, some of these people will look like trouble makers by personality, most of the exaggeration is due to the building up stress and worry, or simply part of their illness! 

 

Difficult OSCEs - Sad DepressedDealing with difficult patients in medical encounters needs a lot of communication skills to sooth them and calm them down or to let them at ease and open for effective communication. However, although this is part of our duty in addition to establishing rapport and friendly environment, it is not our goal in medical encounters! We are not social workers. Our goal is to figure out what is going wrong with them physically and psychologically in order to help them. These good communication skills are not the goal, they are wonderful magical means to achieve our goal, the patient well being. Communication skills are our vehicle to take a thorough medical history, perform accurate safe physical examination, and assure patient compliance, and yet efficiently in respect to our time and resources limits. 

 

As you may realize now, it is important to learn the specific communication skills to deal with these difficult patients in real life. This will make us friendly caring clever doctors and build a good reputation while staying thorough, focused, organized, and efficient. This is what successful considerate physician know very well!

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Difficult Patients Situations in Medical Encounters

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  • The Silent or Reticent patient.
  • The Rambling or Talkative patient.
  • The Vague patient.
  • The Angry patient.
  • The Depressed or Sad patient.
  • The Denial patient.
  • The Anxious patient.
  • Patient with Somatization.
  • The Dependent and Demanding patient.
  • The Dramatic or Manipulative patient.
  • The Long Suffering, Masochistic patient.
  • The Orderly and Controlled patient.
  • The Manic, Restless patient.
  • The Guarded Paranoid patient.
  • The Superior patient.
  • Breaking bad news.
  • Caring for the dying patient.
  • Conflicted Roles.
  • Solving Conflicts.

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How to improve my communication skills?

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We, doctors, nurses, medical students, and other healthcare professionals, all grew up with a set of communication skills we obtained and learned from our environments. We consider that as part of our personality! We think it is part of our genetics! That is what I am, this were I come from!, this is me!,  thus, that what I can accomplish! . Unfortunately, not all of our communication skills are right and can serve us to achieve our goals. In fact, unconsciously, most are working against us! More worse, some give others the wrong impression about who we are!!

"That is what I am!, this were I come from!, this is me!" are wrong phrases. You have now achieved a position, whether it is a medical student or graduate, because of your efforts to continuously aim for the best, teaching yourself new sciences and training yourself new techniques. So, why you stop at communication skills?!!.

Communication skills are learnable, trainable, adaptable just like any other skill!. Yes, it is not easy to change yourself. But it wasn't easy to be in your current academic achievement either. You can teach yourself these skills, learn them, adopt them, and make them part of the new you! The new medical student or graduate, or even a new start towards being a successful physician!.

There are hundreds of books and courses to help you improve your communication skills. Also, there are hundreds of professional that are willing to sit with you, observe the way you communicate and pinpoint what is wrong and needs to be changed, what needs improvements, and what is pretty good! We highly recommend to look for one of these resources and ideally make it a life long continuous fine tuning of your communication skills.

Observe yourself as you go through your day and assess if you are achieving what you aimed for?!... It is difficult to identify our weakness and strength!..  Ask your friends to observe you and criticize your communication skills!.. Be open minded for critics!.. Do that favour for them too!... Observe them and on the same time watch what skills that they have and worked for them that you are missing?!.. 

Don't leave thinks in the dark hoping for thinks just to go fine. Act now. It may take some time but it is so so rewarding!!

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But I need it now!

However, you need a practical quick guide specific for your OSCEs for now and for your future/current real patient medical encounters. 

You need to master the very needed communication skills to make an impact on your patients to be considered a friendly physician. 

You want to effectively communicate with your patients to achieve better data gathering to be considered a clever thorough physician. 

You want to effectively communicate with your patients to achieve better compliance and health outcomes to be considered a caring respectful physician. 

You want to effectively communicate with your patients to achieve better physician-patient relationship and rapport in order to receive free trusted ongoing publicity in stead of complaints and law suits. 


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COMING SOON Summer of 2009

Check our ebook "How To improve My Communication Skills For A Medical Encounter". It offers the very needed skills in these medical encounters. 

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Available now!!

Check our ebook

"How To Unlock Difficult Medical Encounters"

Click here to Buy the full version and save your time!

Download a sample version

 

 Do you feel you want to be distinguished? 

"How To Unlock Difficult Medical Encounters" is an ebook that helps you recognize and deal with difficult patient medical interviews and issues. It provides proven steps to follow to unlock 'Sick encounters'!. Short, condensed, well organized and easy to read and memorize.

Almost every day, you, medical students, residents, and physician face 'Difficult Patients' in your clinical practice. All OSCE organizers, like USMLE, MCC, GMC, and medical schools, include difficult to deal with patient scenarios in their exams to test your communication skills and reactions.

Limited resources are available out there to help you deal with these specific healthcare situations. Most of these resources deal with the etiology behind these situations hoping that the understanding of the etiologies will help you to figure out the right ways to deal with them!

Learning to take medical history or perform a physical exam is easy. You will be amazed how well your colleagues is doing with these clinical tasks. There are tons of resources to train yourself these skills. But what about communication skills with difficult patients? You will be amazed how bad your colleagues is doing with these clinical tasks that need special communication skills!.. Imaging yourself mastering these skills!.. Definitely, you will be distinguished form the crowd!... Your colleagues will ask your help to teach them your secrets to master these situations!... Nurses will recommend that you, the expert with a human touch, to deal with such situations!.. Your OSCE examiner or clinical supervisor will admire you. 

This is the first ebook that is written focusing on techniques, strategies, and practical proven steps to help you deal with 'Difficult Patients'. It is focused on practical tools ready to learn, adopt, and  implement to improve your way of dealing with difficult patients in both OSCE exam scenarios and real life settings. 

You have no time to read and you need to learn quickly proven skills. You can download and start studying it now! 

You can download it to your desktop computer, laptop computer, PALM or other PDA devices.

For your security, payments are processed by PayPal, a 100% secure service for all major credit cards in addition to PayPal members. By clinking below you will be transferred to PayPal secure service for payment.  

ACT NOW !!.. Be distinguished!

Note: You need Adobe Acrobat Reader to open this ebook in PDF format. 

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Click here to Buy the full version and save your time!

Download a sample version

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communications skills, communication skill, doctors, physician, physicians, nurses, medical malpractice, medical doctor, medical students, healthcare professionals, health care, physician assistant, physicians assistant

What are the communication skills that will be assessed in OSCEs?

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The OSCE exam is an assessment of clinical knowledge, skills, and attitude. The communication skills you demonstrate and the process you go through in obtaining a history or performing a physical examination are more important than determining a diagnosis.

Communication skills are verbal and non-verbal words, phrases, voice tones, facial expressions, gestures, and body language that you use in the interaction between you and another person, in OSCEs, it is usually a simulated patient or other healthcare professionals such us a nurse. Your approach to the patient will be assessed all through the examination, but in some stations communication will be the main skill for which you will be awarded marks. In OSCEs, as well as in life, two aspects of the communication skills are important. The way you choose for your approach to reach the other person, and the effects and outcome of your efforts. 

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The OSCEs examiners will be considering your:

Approach to the patient

You should:

  • Introduce and orientate the patient and yourself
  • Establish an attentive, respectful and non-judgmental relationship
  • Acknowledge the patient's emotions and concerns

Listening, questioning and diagnosing

You should:

  • Ensure you have understood the patient's symptoms/problem and concerns
  • Summarize and clarify understanding

Explaining and advising

You should:

  • Enable the patient to understand the problem/situation
  • Reassure appropriately
  • Summarize and clarify understanding

Involving patient in management

You should:

  • Explore the patient's expectations/concerns
  • Propose/explain management plan clearly
  • Explore the patient's response
  • Respect the patient's autonomy, and help him or her to make a decision based on available information and advice
  • Summarize and clarify understanding
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