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Career advice

Refresh your approach to communicating with patients

We all know that good communication skills are crucial, but it's easy to slip into bad habits. Here's a quick refresher

In health care, effective communication can directly affect positive outcomes. Ineffective or poor communication can cost lives, be it by a missed diagnosis, a medication error or treatment delay.

Julie Parry, a registered nurse and managing director of Cordant Occupational Health Services, says: ‘We need to be aware of the barriers in communication, such as language, age, gender and different cultures; how do we overcome these? Do we ask for feedback from colleagues and patients in how we are perceived, or do we rush, pre-judge, bark orders, avoid eye contact or cross our arms defensively?’

Picture credit: Jim Varney

For Ms Parry, communication techniques must start with listening – hearing what is being said, and


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