Years ago I was invited to present a talk on Patient-Doctor Communications to a group of specialists. I was just one speaker during a many-day conference for thousands of doctors who had come in from all over the world.
Imagine my surprise when I was assigned to a large room, set up for 300 or more attendees. And imagine my even bigger surprise when it was standing room only! What on earth? Me? Why would so many people care what I had to say?*
The even bigger surprise came about as I began speaking. I was setting the stage for them to walk into the exam room where the patient was waiting, with two pieces of advice: First, that they check that their nametags were turned out so the patient could read them (because, you know how often then are turned backwards and can’t be read?) And second, that they NOT be reading a chart or paperwork as they walk into the room. Instead they should look their patient in the eye, then introduce themselves, “Hello. I’m Dr. So-and-So,” then wait for a moment while the patient replied with her or his name.
The surprise? That, immediately, half the attendees wrote that down! I watched them as their heads bowed to their notes and their pens began in earnest to record my words. I was floored.