Saturday, 5 November 2011

'Seek first to understand then to be understood'

'Seek first to understand then to be understood'.

According the Stephen Covey in his classic book, The 7 habits of highly effective people', 'Most people do not listen with the intent to understand, they listen with the intent to reply. They're either speaking or preparing to speak'.


As a GP I sometimes think that I am  like The interpreter from John Bunyan's Pilgrims Progress. I have to interpret what the doctor said in out-patients, or what the doctor said after the endoscopy (whilst the patient was still sedated), or what the doctor meant in his letter to me about the patient which is full of medical jargon (and faithfully copied to the patient-I'm not a fan of this practice!).

So I need to listen well and understand what the patient's concern is before I dive in with my explanation. It's the old, 'ideas, concerns expectations' which is such a valuable way of appreciating how I can best help the patient in front of me.

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