August 2, 2015
Professor Maria Hammel
To: Emergency Staff
Subject: Listen Up
We need to practice active listening not only with each other, but also with our patients. Sometimes we may hear our patients, but we don’t really listen to them and pick up on their true message. I’m going to share with you now, how to practice active listening, and conclude with a list of benefits of active listening. Active listening is a practice that focuses on a speaker, rather than focusing on a response to the issue at hand. How many times have you been involved in an argument, only to not even hear the words coming out of your colleague’s mouth? When you practice active listening, you first listen to what the speaker has to say. After you listen to what the speaker says, repeat what you heard. If what you communicate back to the speaker is what they said, then their message was successful and you listened to them. On the other hand, if what you repeat back to the speaker is nowhere near what they said then they have some more communicating to do. Practice this back and forth until the listener truly gets the message intended by the speaker. This is active listening.
There are many benefits to this form of listening. First, active listening will boost morale. One of the biggest complaints from patients is that no one listens to them. We get defensive and say ‘yes we do listen – all we do is listen.’ What the patient means is that we hear them, but we don’t listen to their issue. Imagine how happy they would be if we practiced active listening with them and understood their needs! Second, active listening reduces missed communications and misunderstandings. If you practice active listening the speaker and the listener communicate back and forth until they are on the same page. This reduces...