If you’ve sought help from the healthcare system, chances are you’ve been assisted by one of these invaluable human resources. Whether in a doctor’s office, hospital, longterm care facility, or in your home, these people on the frontlines can make a huge difference in the care you receive.
- Licensed Nurse Assistant (LNA)
- Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA)
- Certified (or Registered) Medical Assistants (CMA or RMA)
Although job descriptions, supervision, education, and skills vary among these paraprofessionals, they are often the people that patients, residents, or family members interact with the most. This means that in addition to their particular caregiving tasks, they are likely to learn about important concerns and limitations the people they are caring for have. Not only that, but they are likely to have their fingers on the pulse of needed supplies, issues with equipment, and the dynamics in the office, clinic, or facility.
Communication Skills are Essential
Keeping patients, residents, clients, and families safe is an essential goal for anyone providing care including these frontline staffers Bringing concerns to busy doctors and nurses and communicating with family can make a huge difference in patient care.
- Doctor, Mrs. Smith told me she fell in the Bathroom the other day. She’s embarrassed to tell you.
- Mr. Smith, your nurse is on the phone right now with the doctor to see about a better pain medicine. I will let her know you’d like to find out what the plan is right away.
- Nurse, I’ve tried to get Mrs. Jones out of bed, but she seems weaker than usual. Please come take a look.
Assertiveness isn’t always easy!
Doctors and nurses may be rushed, short-tempered, or even rude. Patients and families may be anxious, impatient, or yes, even rude. People are often stressed whether they are working in healthcare or getting services. Rudeness or abusive behavior isn’t ok and there should be channels to address that, but speaking up clearly, respectfully, and effectively even in the face of challenging behaviors is a must!
Not only is assertiveness challenging for these reasons, it also requires self-esteem, self-awareness, self-respect as well as confident body language and tone. One way to develop these skills is through Medical Improv, an innovative new teaching strategy for developing and practicing essential interpersonal skills. I’ve been teaching communication-related skills for over a decade and improv activities offer us the most fun, engaging, and effective way to build these skills that I know of.
I’m excited to partner with Dartmouth Hitchcock this Spring for a full day training for LNAs, CNAs, and Medical Assistants! If you or someone you know are interested, check out this event flyer!