Communication Techniques to Obtain Clinical History

Clinical history is a crucial variable that the caregiver uses to identify the symptoms of a given disease and the patient’s past medical, social, and psychological history. The basis for diagnosis is through communication with the patient. The caregiver must have good communication skills that will enable one to acquire the patient’s concerns, ideas, expectations, and the accompanying diagnosis. In most cases, the patient’s history gives the diagnosis, and sometimes history is the only thing required to make the diagnosis. The skills required to gather information about a patient sometimes require additional techniques, especially when the patient is not open.

Firstly, the deliberate use of silence is important in synthesizing information between the nurse and the patient. It provides an opportunity to identify the next conversation coming from the patient. Secondly, accepting what the patient is saying without necessarily agreeing with what the patient is saying is important in making the patient feel that they have been heard. This can be attained through nodding, making eye contact, and responding with clauses such as “Yes, I understand.” Whenever patients feel that the nurse is listening and taking them seriously, they tend to open up.

Thirdly, active listening through the usage of non-verbal cues encourages the patient to keep talking. It involves portraying interest in whatever the patient is saying through acknowledgment. Furthermore, engaging the patients during the conversation is fruitful as a nurse can pose questions such as “What happens next?” to enable the patient to give more information. Fourthly, reflecting is significant when used, as normally, patients seek advice from the nurses regarding certain issues. With reflection, nurses seek patients’ advice on what they think they are supposed to do, which encourages the patient.

Fifthly, monitoring non-verbal communication is important in gathering information from the patient. Non-verbal communication tends to be stronger than verbal communication because it portrays a different meaning when someone is not honest about their feelings. Body language includes body position, physical reactions, eye contact, touch, and facial expression. Every patient encounter is always unique, and non-verbal communication will always differ. In conclusion, various techniques can be used to gather information from a patient who is not forthcoming. These techniques include deliberate silence to make the patient talk and open up. Accepting whatever the patients say to keep them engaged. Active listening helps gain insights into what the patient is saying, reflection, monitoring non-verbal communication, and the patient’s behavior.

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