Listening with empathy takes time and energy, but it’s well worth it, as it builds the relationship between you and the patient.
When you watch an empathetic listener, you see them mirroring the emotion and even the body language of the patient. They usually are laser-focused on their patient, and they seem to not care about anything else that’s happening in the room. Empathetic listeners pour themselves into the listening experience so that they can better understand the patient’s emotions and feelings.
This is a type of listening that has the potential to build trust and respect among both parties.
Here are some of our tips to become an empathetic listening:
- Empathy starts with the language that’s going on in your head as the listener. While you listen, put yourself in that person’s shoes and identify their feelings. Tell yourself to completely immerse in the listening experience without judging or becoming distracted.
- Mind your nonverbals. Try to mirror the speaker.
- If you speak, use acknowledging responses, such as “I see, uh-huh.” If you do verbally participate in the conversation, use sentence stems, such as “I would be frustrated too”. “What happened next?”
- As you listen, remember to honour the speaker’s feelings, and don’t use any phrases that would discount them, such as, “That’s not that bad,” “Don’t get so upset over this,” or, “It’s all going to be fine.”
Best of luck with your exam!
Dr. Irene Baez
Irene is Medical Advisor for Bromley Emergency Courses.