Publication date

Listen: when words don't come easy.

Dulmen, S. van. Listen: when words don't come easy. Patient Education and Counseling: 2017, 100(11), p. 1975-1978.
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Listening is at the very heart of communication in healthcare, but largely ignored in research and teaching. This paper presents different perspectives on listening within the context of healthcare and its implications for goal-directed communication.

The assets of listening are examined from several angles (the listening patient, the listening health professional, and the listening self) and illustrated by the results of relevant research.

Listening is a multidimensional concept and serves different purposes in healthcare. To benefit fully from it's potentials, the listening attitude and skills of patients and health professionals need to be enhanced through interventions at the level of policy, practice and research. Results from research evaluating creative and innovative ways of strenghtening persons' listening skills are encouraging.

Listening has underused potential which can be boosted by interventions directed at the level of healthcare policy, practice and research.

Practice implications
For healthcare practice, it is helpful to keep in mind that listening involves more than hearing what the other person says; one also needs eyes, a heart, and undivided attention. (aut. ref.)