Practical communication tips

By Susan Keane Baker

It’s been said that it doesn’t matter what you know if you can’t communicate it. Although that may be less true for orthopaedic surgeons than for a lot of other professionals, communication is nonetheless an essential skill. Here are six practical communication techniques for your communication tune-up.

1. Assess the likelihood of follow-through.
One of the frustrations of orthopaedic surgery is that the patient’s outcome is often dependent on his or her ability or willingness to follow through on the agreed-upon treatment plan. The “chunk-and-check” method of communication can help you determine whether your patient has heard you correctly. After you have communicated one important message—a “chunk” of instructions—you check how much the patient understood by asking “What will you tell your husband about how many physical therapy visits should be scheduled?”

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