Speaking the Primary Care Physician’s Language – Sound Bytes 

To understand how to best communicate with medical doctors you have to understand how they are trained. The lecture format is not much different than chiropractic school in that the volume of information is VAST and it comes quick. I had a pathology professor once tell me “Its like trying to take a sip of water from a fire hydrant”!  Where we differ on a large scale is the clinical rotation side of our education.  We had internships and hallways of rooms in an outpatient type of clinic. We did not have a lot of exposure to the critically ill type of patient; an example would be septicemia or acute bacterial pneumonia. 

The medical schools spend a lot of time training doctors how to become clinical educators, which means they are teaching while caring for patients in the critically ill scenario. This is difficult because they have both the needs of the resident/student and the needs of the patient to consider which is especially important if the patient is critically ill. A lot of medical education occurs at the bedside and because there is a lot going on, you can imagine there is not a lot of time to discuss things. Residents have to hthink on their feet and give short answers. This is how they are trained and it is how they continue to work and interact, they are analytical scientists. Chiropractors on the other hand are generally philosophical thinkers and that is the basis of most of our discussions. 

Hopefully now you can see how simple ways of thinking and communicating can interfere with relationship building. Use this scenario and a dating example…if you had two people on date that communicated that differently it would not generally go well, right? That is an important thing to consider when you are interacting and communicating with the medical profession – which included physician assistants and nurse practitioners as well. This is one of the reasons as your training with me progresses, we communicate more frequently but for less time. It is preparing you for “sound byte” communication (SBC). 

When you first learn something you will not understand it enough to discuss it without lots of words, lots of “ums” and lots of time. That is because you are still working out the pathway in your brain, basically you are building the road.  Once the road is paved, you can drive much faster and therefore your ability to communicate this information is shorter and more concise.  Albert Einstein was quoted as saying “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it.” That is a profound statement since we are chiropractors and many times we have difficulty explaining it simply to other healthcare professionals right?  So when you are working with me, lets make sure that we continue to review and repeat these simple concepts so that YOU can explain them in a short 2 sentence sound byte, that is what the MDs find easiest to understand – SPEAK THEIR LANGUAGE and they will refer! 

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