Napa 2019 – Day 2

Today one of the main topics we covered was effective communication. As long as I can remember I have been a fast talker, fast to the point that many folks often have a hard time catching what I am saying…this on top of all the other difficult factors that lead to misinterpreted messages that Carole taught us today. Listening to my own voice on the Instagram videos of a colleague today while trying to enjoy the festivities hosted by The Doctor’s Company, I couldn’t help but cringe at my pace of my words simply saying “thank you so much for having us.” How much more difficult would I be to understand when trying to explain complex diagnoses or treatment plans?

Throughout my first two years of medical school I have had ample opportunity to be recorded while working with standardized patients, but each time avoided completing a thorough review of my work. “I’ll do it better next time,” I would tell myself. If I take anything away from today, I must reflect on the importance of repeated, intentional practice similar to how pilots operate in simulations. While this often refers to technical skills and physical movements, the art of communication is definitely an area I must focus on first to be a better provider. No longer can I put off the work that needs to be done in order to be an effective communicator…as a member of the health care system, the time was yesterday to work on improving my main contribution to the care team: conversation. In the two days we have left and going forward I will prioritize this critical aspect of my skillset. What good is clinical reasoning without the effective means of sharing it? So far we have discovered that speaking up and stopping the line is crucial in patient safety and I must make sure that my voice comes across clear and ready when my time comes to be the advocate my patients need.