Talking to patients: do careful words matter more than honesty?

The therapeutic relationship in nursing is built on trust. Healthcare professions should drop common clinical terms that demean or disempower patients, a study says

The therapeutic relationship is built on trust. A BMJ study suggests nursing and other healthcare professions should review common clinical terms that demean or disempower patients

It’s the way you tell ’em – any good stand-up knows that.

So how is this relevant to the world of healthcare? The authors of an article in the BMJ have plenty to say on the subject of how clinicians communicate with and about patients, and it’s not flattering.

Terminology and expressions are not the full picture

They assert that healthcare professionals often use questionable terminology, words and expressions that demean their patients; that condescend and belittle; that disempower and confer blame, and so ruin the ‘therapeutic relationship’.


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