Patient-centered nursing communication hacks, strategies, and techniques to combine education with attention grabbing news
Chiropractors who are dedicated to guiding and influencing patients recognize the value of patient-centered nursing communication. Most would recognize that excellent clinical skills coupled with effective patient communication are an unbeatable combination.
The best chiropractic communicators rely on a handful of techniques and strategies to get their message across. We call them “hacks”.
Hack # 1: Set reasonable expectations
You want to install a chiropractic waistband. Because if you don’t, most patients will bring their doctor’s contract with them and project it onto you. This is not helpful like playing basketball by the rules of hockey. Both have gates and nets and time periods, but that’s where the similarity ends.
What is the doctor’s contract? It is what patients expect when consulting someone with medical conviction – either in person or through media consumption.
The first time you visit a patient, explain these important differences:
- Chiropractic is different from medicine.
- Health, lightness and wellbeing are normal.
- Your nervous system controls everything.
- Stress can overwhelm your nervous system.
- This can lead to a subluxation of the vertebrae.
- We’ll do a thorough investigation.
- We explain our results in simple language.
- A number of adjustments will be necessary.
- Adjustments don’t address your symptoms.
- Regular visits help exercise your spine.
- You control the speed of your recovery.
- Choose wellness care to avoid relapse.
Explain these differences in patient-centered nursing communication early on and you will avoid a variety of misunderstandings and communication challenges later.
Hack # 2: Say goodbye in advance
You want to talk about how a patient can leave the practice when he is adequately cared for. Why? Because there’s still the myth that once you see a chiropractor, you will have to go for the rest of your life.
And while you and I may think that it is best for everyone to have ongoing supportive care, many new patients are suspicious. They fear that if they consult you they will get caught in something from which they cannot free themselves.
That’s a problem.
It is important to talk about the discharge process at the beginning – even if the patient does not mention it. Rest assured that if you lack the courage to bring up the subject, then you will think about it. Be proactive.
“Hey, have you ever heard that once you go to a chiropractor, you have to go for the rest of your life? Yes sir? Well, I just want you to know it’s not true. How long you choose to benefit from chiropractic is always up to you. I just ask you to let me know on your last visit so that we can properly celebrate and close your case file. Because my job is to offer you the best possible chiropractic treatment. And your job is to decide how much of it you want. “
I suspect you don’t get regular patients announcing their last visit. Don’t make a mistake. They know that it will be their last visit – even if they march to the front desk to dutifully make future appointments that they do not want to keep.
Hack # 3: Use Metaphors
Since the dawn of time, the best communicators have used parables, allegories, stories, metaphors, and other literary means. Metaphors are means of communication that suggest that this “new” is like this other thing that you already understand.
If you want to improve your patient-centered nursing communication, you should master some of the more effective metaphors. There are some that you already use – even if you don’t recognize them as metaphors.
Use metaphors regularly and you will see a lightbulb light up over a patient’s head. Which, as you may have noticed, is a metaphor!
Hack # 4: Ask Instead of Telling
When it comes to chiropractic patient education, most of the models you got from a professor at the front of the room have ridiculous. Yakking is not an education. It’s called education, but it’s teaching. When you talk, you teach. The distinction is important.
It is interesting that chiropractors, realizing the value of patient education, are often unable to create a curriculum or even a rudimentary curriculum that every patient should know. Here is my attempt. It’s not that extensive, and a lot of it was introduced on the first visit when you signed your chiropractic contract:
- Chiropractic is different from medicine.
- Chiropractic does not deal with anything.
- The nervous system is the master system.
- The subluxation of the vertebra is the result of stress.
- A series of consistent visits will be required.
- Patients control the speed of their recovery.
- How long a patient benefits is up to them.
How many of your patients know and understand these principles? Would a visitor to your practice come across something similar on a tour of the practice?
Hack # 5: Use Pattern Breaks
Our reticular activation system is responsible for many cognitive functions related to the perception of our surroundings. Almost every sensory information is first evaluated by this system for its meaning.
Based on a patient’s typical experience in a chiropractic practice, wall graphics are only used on the first and second visit – and often not even. Within a few visits, the implicit and explicit messages on your boards will be ignored. You become invisible. It is not enough just to have them in sight of the patient.
If you rotate your posters and charts every month, the more likely patients (and you) will see them. It’s a simple use of a pattern break. It turns out that we humans are designed to notice patterns. What is different Which one is not like the other? What has changed? Is it a threat I’m sure?
Use pattern interruptions as part of your patient-centered care communication to provoke conversations with patients. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Worn out tire – Visit a tire store and collect a tire that is badly worn from poor front-end alignment. If necessary, clean it and lean it against a wall in your practice. “What is the tire for?” Some will ask you to share your observations about the importance of spinal alignment.
pile of sugar – Measure 39 grams of sugar in a pile at your reception desk. “What’s this?” asks a patient. “That’s part of it,” smiles your team member at reception, reaches under the counter and takes out a 12-ounce can of Coke.
Comment on your posters – If you value wall graphics and chiropractic art on your practice walls, you have had them professionally framed behind glass. This creates a surface on which you can use dry-erase marketing pens to circle important points, make notes and draw attention to your blackboards.
The idea is to break the pattern and break the routine. During this short gap, you will have the opportunity to connect.
Patient-centered care communication: A “hack” is not an abbreviation
When it comes to patient-centered nursing communication, there are no short cuts. These simple hacks are a mix of strategies used by the busiest chiropractors to guide and inspire patients interested in better health. When you limit your practice to the low-tech solution to spinal pain syndromes, your patient education obligations are modest.
Nowadays, in the coronavirus era, it is likely a wise choice to offer health care rather than just pain relief. Seems the chiropractors who do this are busier than ever. Conicidence?
BILL ESTEB has been a chiropractic patient and lawyer since 1981. He is the creative director of Patient Media and co-founder of the digital marketing website service for Perfect Patients.