15: Communication

CHAPTER 15 Communication

Working with patients

As a dental nurse you need to have, and be able to demonstrate, an interest in people: the dental nurse works with, rather than on, patients. You will need to listen to and to explore, with the patient, the beliefs and practices that are important to them and their situation, their feelings and their concerns about healthcare. Patients vary, for example in how they wish to be addressed, and so need to be asked. Remember, as mentioned in Chapter 6, not everyone is happy to be addressed by their first name. Some may also wish to involve in discussions and/or decisions people who are close to them. Check!

Communication

Greetings can ‘make’ or ‘break’ the professional relationship with a patient. So do greet patients with a smile. Always strive also to communicate in such a way that the person can understand what is being told them. This includes your facial expression and body language as well as what you say.

Good practice points in communication

Arabs: Greet with ‘As Salamu Alaikum’. Use title (Mr, Mrs, Dr, Professor) followed by last name.

To avoid any offence, wait to see if person wishes to shake hands.

Asians: Unless you are aware they are Hindu or Muslim (see below), bowing is a common practice in Asia, as a way of expressing respect as well as a form of greeting. Greet with a slight bow and a handshake. Shake hands with a woman only if she offers hers.

Buddhists: Greet with ‘Good morning/afternoon’ and use title (Mr, Mrs, Dr, Professor) followed by the last name.

Bowing is a common practice in Asia, a way of expressing respect and reverence, as well as a form of greeting. Greet Buddhist monks/nuns with a small bow with hands together in front of the chest and avoid hand shaking.

Chinese: Greet with ‘Good morning/afternoon’ and use title (Mr, Mrs, Dr, Professor) followed by the last name.

Christians: Greet with ‘Good morning/afternoon’ and use title (Mr, Mrs, Dr, Professor) followed by the last name.

Handshake, or, in some cultures such as those of southern European origin, if the person is known, by a touch of the cheek on the cheek of the other person.

Hindus: Greet with ‘Namaste’ and their title (Mr, Mrs, Dr, Professor) followed by their last name.

Handshake. When a Hindu meets a Hindu, they greet each other with the hands folded together at chin level.

Jains: Use their title (Mr, Mrs, Dr, Professor) followed by their last name and say ‘Jai Jinendra’.

Greet only men with a handshake. Whenever a Jain meets a Jain, they place hands together at chin level, and bow.

Jews: Greet with ‘Good morning/afternoon’ and use title (Mr, Mrs, Dr, Professor) followed by the last name.

To avoid any offence, wait to see if person wishes to shake hands.

Muslims: Greet with ‘As Salamu Alaikum’ (May peace be with you). Use title (Mr, Mrs, Dr, Professor) followed by the first and last names. The naming system used depends on the area from which the person comes.

To avoid any offence, wait to see if the person wishes to shake hands.

Roma: Use their title (Mr, Mrs, Dr, Professor) followed by their last name and say ‘Good morning/afternoon’ or the words in Roma for luck and health (‘baxt hai sastimos’).

Handshake. When a Roma meets a Roma, they greet each other with a raised palm.

Sikhs: Use their title (Mr, Mrs, Dr, Professor) followed by their first and last names and say ‘Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh’ or less formally by saying ‘Sat Sri Akal’.

Greet men with a handshake. When a Sikh meets another Sikh, they greet each other with folded hands.

Communicating across a language and/or cultural barrier can be time-consuming, difficult and frustrating. It is important to:

Interpreting

Interpretation requires time, patience and expertise. Try not to use family members, or interpreters/advocates of different sects, since there could be:

Translation services are available but, in some cultures and with some individuals, there can be concern and mistrust if the patient believes the interpreter may not accurately convey their messages to the dental care professional (DCP). In these circumstances, the patient may prefer a different professional interpreter. Where indicated, use interpreters of the same gender as the patient, preferably no younger than the patient – always ensuring first that the patient is comfortable with the interpreter. They should therefore meet, before the interview, which allows the interpreter also to assess the patient.

It is crucial before proceeding to take the history, for the clinician to check the interpreter’s understanding and to:

Jan 8, 2015 | Posted by in Dental Nursing and Assisting | Comments Off on 15: Communication
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