Requirements of Effective Listening

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Requirementsof Effective Listening


Lecturer’s Jacinta Joseph

Submission 25 August 2016

Requirementsof Effective Listening


Introduction 3

Impact on the Patient 4

Impact on the Health Professional 4

Barriers that Exist 5

Conclusion 6

References 7

Thefollowing paper aims to explore the importance and benefits oflistening skills. It will discuss how listening abilities affect therelationship between patients and health professionals. The paperwill also explore the barriers that hinder listening skills in thehealth care system.

Acommon saying states that God created human beings with one mouth andtwo ears so that they can spend twice as much time listening thantalking. The saying shows that listening is twice as difficult toobserve as speaking. Listening is a significant skill, but it can beso hard to accomplish well and highly challenging to make itmeaningful. Listening is when a person heeds the speaker of a givenmessage by appreciating, taking interest, paying attention,acknowledging, validating, and taking to heart what is being said(Roebuck et al., 2015). Hence, effective listening offers a speaker asense of being understood for what was being communicated. Goodlisteners usually suspend personal thoughts, feelings, and judgmentsand fully concentrates on the words and communication cues of thespeaker. In the healthcare sector, poor communication is the singlemost collective reason for patient criticisms against specialists inthis industry (Burnard, 2013). A healthcare professional thatpossesses effective listening skills is a good communicator that isefficient in assisting patients and correlating with other workcolleagues. Current studies indicate that many patients value thehealth care providers’ communication skills more than theprofessionals’ technical talents (Truglio-Londrigan, 2016). Thus,for healthcare professionalstoundertake their duties effectively, they should always exhibitexcellent listening skills, in order to communicate successfully inthe workplace with patients, families, and other experts in theirfield.

Impacton the Patient

Effectivelistening helps establish a good relationship between patients andhealthcare professionals. For example, supportive and focusedlistening can assist the patient to open up and convey vital medialfacts and express underlying important emotions, feelings, andspiritual needs (Mühlbacher et al., 2016). Hence, active listeningof a healthcare professional contributes to the development of trustbetween the patient and provider, resulting in the expert acquiringthe essential information that might facilitate obtaining a diagnosisor aid in the client’s treatment (Burnard, 2013). Through effectivelistening the healthcare professional can easily and rapidlydetermine the different needs whether physical, emotional, orspiritual that require attention in the patient’s care(Truglio-Londrigan, 2016). Therefore, careful listening aids inbuilding a strong professional correlation, which leavescommunication avenues open when novel medical challenges or personalproblems occur.

Impacton the Health Professional

Additionally,efficient listening in the health care system can lessen medicalerrors and ensure constructive patient outcomes (Handzo, 2012). Whenhealth care experts listen actively to the patients, they oftenconcentrate on the individual that is speaking. Thus, the doctor isoften close enough to the patient to observe their gestures, facialexpressions, and postures that communicate the thoughts of the client(Roebuck et al., 2015). The physician is also able to make eyecontact when listening carefully to comprehend the reaction of theclient to the questions asked. Therefore, when a health careprofessional listens carefully to the speaker, he/she is able togauge the mood of the patient before explaining the diagnosis,investigation, and treatment, or involving the patient in thedecision making (Rajashree, 2011). The doctor will also understandthe right time to break bad news, give advice on health promotion,lifestyle, and risk factors among others.

Carefullistening is important because it makes sure that a healthcareprofessional talks to the patient as opposed to speaking at them. Assuch, this shows respect to the clients and their concerns. Theprofessional can accomplish this by showing nonverbal communicationcues like making proper eye contact and facing the patient andindicating to the speaker that you are listening carefully (Haroun,2016). The trained individual depicts attentiveness to what thespeaker is saying to show respect and value of what is beingcommunicated, as well as portray empathy to their patient (Tietze,2012). The healthcare professional can ensure effective listening bymaking the speaker feel like an active collaborator and partner inthe care being provided (Fortenberry &amp McGoldrick, 2016).Moreover, when communicating amongst professionals, healthcareexperts can use complicated language and jargons, but suchterminologies cannot be used when speaking to patients as they maynot understand what they mean (Abbott, 2014). Therefore, activelistening is beneficial because it allows a professional tounderstand when to use medical jargons and when to avoid them, inorder to relate to patents instead of confusing them resulting todistrust, fear, complaints, and anxiety among others.

Barriersthat Exist

Barriersto effective listening include gender differences, hierarchyproblems, personal values and expectations, personality variations,disruptive behavior, generational changes, culture and ethnicity,variances in language and jargon to mention but a few instances. Forexample, physicians and nurses encounter barriers when performingtheir respective roles and responsibilities, as they often depictdifferent perceptions to patient needs (MacLeod, 2016). Furthermore,most healthcare professionals come from diverse backgrounds and suchethnic and cultural differences can result in exacerbatedcommunication challenges (Ahmed et al., 2014). To illustrate, in somesocieties, people refrain from challenging the opinions of superiorsor being assertive and as a consequence, nurses tend to avoid raisingtheir voice to challenge something that they think is wrong(Newbould, Nagraj &amp Gillam, 2015). Moreover, communicationexpectations, styles, and values in terms of gender are different asthe health care industry is dominated by male physicians and femalenurses (McNeese, 2015). As such, gender variations arise as acommunication barrier in the sector.


Consequently,active listening is important and it has to be supportive, open,caring, meaningful, focused, and non-judgmental. Listeningefficiently is an essential part of effective communication in thehealth care system and it has to be promoted to enhance patientversus professional relationships. A medical professional is able tounderstand the problems a patient is facing through interactive andactive listening to support efficient communication skills.Therefore, to minimize medical errors and other faults in the healthcare system effective listening is encouraged as it improves patientcare and support.


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Ahmed,M., Arora, S., McKay, J., Susannah, L., Vincent, C., Kelly, M., &amp… Bowie, P. (2014). Patient Safety skills in primary care: anational survey of GP educators. BMCFamily Practice, 15(1),287-303. doi:10.1186/s12875-014-0206-5

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Rajashree,K. (2011). Training Programs in Communication Skills for Health CareProfessionals and Volunteers. IndianJournal of Palliative Care,17(Suppl), S12–S13.

Roebuck,D. B., Bell, R. L., Raina, R., &amp Lee, C. (. (2015). The effectsof home country, gender, and position on listening behaviors. Journalof Organizational Culture, Communications &amp Conflict, 19(2),93-120.

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Truglio-Londrigan,M. (2016). Shared decision making through reflective practice: PartI. MEDSURGNursing,25(4), 260-264.

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