– Roshni Kharbanda
Glocal Academy has recently launched “I WILL” campaign (see image) for a better healthcare communication in India.
“I WILL” is an acronym which stands for I: Intention, W: Welcome, I: Introduction, L: Listen, L: Language.
This means the promise to be there with an Intention to pay attention; Welcoming the patients into a safe space to express and share what they feel; Introducing by name, role and purpose; Listening to understand rather than to reply; Speaking in a Language that is clear and easy to understand for the patient.
In the last few columns, we wrote about the campaign and its principles. In the last column weexpanded on the principle – “Listen to Understand”
In this column I will expand on the fourth principle – “Language”
We have limited time and we need to make it count. The patients might be feeling stressful and emotional when they approach us. Therefore, our aim should be to speak in a local language without using medical terms. Speaking in local language comforts patients and helps them to understand, absorb and remember better. We need them to understand our points, as much as we want to understand their perspective. Using medical jargon in our conversation with the patient will hamper the smooth process of understanding. On the contrary using simple words allows better understanding.
Key points to keep in mind while giving information to patients:
- Try to converse in a local language of that area even if it means that you have to learn the local language.
- Speak words that a layman can understand. It is important to have grip on local language, idioms etc. If we start early we can master it by the time we come to our internship. Make it a hobby to learn the local language.
- Try avoiding medical jargon.
- If some terms are non-avoidable then try to simplify them. For instance you need to tell the person that has hypertension- try explaining that it’s a condition with rise in blood pressure. Then explain briefly what blood pressure means. Try explaining it’s the flow of fluid against the inner wall of the tube, so that he understands.
- To ensure that the message is conveyed correctly, ask the patient to repeat what you said.
I encourage you to speak in a clear and simple language so that the patient and family understands. It is all about them; not about us.