When I first started my third-year rotations I was nervous about taking a history and physical from my patients. True, I had practiced numerous times with classmates, friends, and the patient interactions that my school had set up. However, there was just something different about meeting my first patient in the clinic who was there looking to get treatment from my preceptor. It only took one patient for me to figure out how to best connect with my patients.
Listening is one of the most important aspects of a patient/physician interaction. It is, in my opinion, the foundation that creates an environment where the patient feels heard and can voice any concerns or suggestions about the treatment plan. Listening can also help gather the information that is necessary to the assessment and plan because instead of asking perpetual questions from a patient who might not have all the pieces or timeline set in place, the physician can put the story together based on the information provided.
The times that I have really truly made an intention to listen to my patients, I have been able to make an instant connection, one that I can utilize in future interactions. I have been able to make my patients feel comfortable, welcomed, and cared for. Listening is really the best tool that I have learned to use during my third year and for the rest of my career.