What are 5 active listening skills you can use as a medical assistant?

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Connor Sephton answered
As a medical assistant it is essential to listen to and understand the patients you are dealing with. Active listening skills are an extension of general communication skills. They can include both verbal and non-verbal communication.

Five of the active listening skills that you can use are as follows:

• Understanding the patient as a whole - you want to be able to know all about the patient and not just about their disease or illness. You must listen what they have to say, not only to their words but to the messages hidden inside their words too. Observing their body language whilst they speak, the tone of their voice and general appearance can help you to understand how the person is feeling. If they are slouching or have a sad tone, you know you must try to be positive to allow them to speak their mind.
• Exploring the illness - as you are listening to and conversing with the patient, you must try to discover what is troubling them. Make them feel at ease by listening with interest, appreciating what they have to say. Interruption can make the patient feel as though there is not time for them to speak.
• Finding common ground - you want to be able to feel as though you can talk freely with the patient. Active listening skills can be hard to learn and require the listener to try and avoid common responses when they are listening. When strong emotions are involved, name calling and criticizing may come into play. This has to try and be ignored, so that the bond between listener and speaker can grow stronger.
• Patient-doctor relationship - this should be enhanced as you are listening. As the listener you should be concentrating only the patient, not allowing yourself to get distracted by other things such as personal issues. This will help you to give your total attention to your patient and shows them that you are interested in their words.
• Taking notes - this could either be mentally during the conversation or writing points down after you have seen the patient. You would not want to seem distracted by writing too much whilst they are talking to you. Keeping notes will allow you to remember the patient and all that you have discussed, ready for the next time you meet, if needed.

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