The Doctor Will See You For Exactly 7 Minutes
I spent the day yesterday with a sick buddy–taking him to see various doctors, nurses and specialists. During the course of the day, we both got a fresh taste (one might say “wake up call”) of the current medical system in the United States. I couldn’t believe how many times yesterday I felt frustrated at the lack of basic human communication skills of these health care professionals.
It seems so basic, but out of the dozen medical professionals we interacted with yesterday, I’d say only two of them were actually very good listeners.
There’s a saying: “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” I don’t know who said it, but it strikes me as very true for a trainer–as well as a doctor. If I don’t take the time to listen to my clients, to actually HEAR what they’re experiencing and what’s going on for them, then my training program is really just a crock. Similarly, the best doctor/patient interactions I experienced yesterday were ones where the doctor just plain LISTENED first, before trying to prescribe or diagnose.
Is it any wonder that the most highly trained physicians–the ones with 30 or more years of experience under their belt– were the best at listening? Is it any wonder that they also seemed the most calm, centered, and objective? Is it any wonder that the physicians who were the WORST at listening were also seeing patients in a revolving door — back to back, sometimes at the same time — in different rooms?
I, for one, would be happy to pay a doctor out of pocket if I could have his/her FULL, UNDIVIDED attention for the duration of the appointment. That means no competing phone calls, no competing patients, no long waits. I’d pay for that standard of care. I think a lot of other people would, too.
My takeaway: I’m going to work on being a better listener. It’s pretty simple: if your trainer or doctor don’t listen to you, then they don’t know how to train–or treat you.