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10 Tips for a Better Interview

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									             Skills Station
                                                                                                                                 By Matthew Putts, BA, EMT-B



              10 Tips for a Better Interview
              Learn some simple ways to improve your communication with patients

                The information gained while interviewing patients and                  4. Move to the patient’s field of vision
              bystanders is of the highest value, yet very little time is spent           When possible, approach a patient from a direction where he
              training in this area. As ED personnel do not have the benefit of          will be able to easily see you. For those with limited mobility,
              seeing the patient prior to arrival at the hospital, it falls on the      make sure to position yourself in a way that is comfortable for the
              shoulders of prehospital providers to obtain any necessary firsthand       patient to communicate with you. For example, if your patient is
              information from the field. In cases where a patient’s mental status       a wheelchair user, standing directly in front of him and perhaps
              deteriorates, EMTs may be the only medical providers in a position        crouching will make it easier for him to communicate with you.
              to gain valuable information from the patient. While experienced          Some individuals with hearing impairments will understand you
              EMTs know what questions to ask, many providers could benefit              more easily if you position yourself so they can see your mouth as
              from learning how to more effectively communicate with those they         you speak. Looking down directs your voice away from the patient
              serve. The following 10 tips can be incorporated by providers with        and may be perceived as a lack of attention to what the patient
              any level of experience on almost any run.                                is saying.

              1. Establish rapport                                                      5. Consider how you look
                 In a typical healthcare situation, a patient interacts with a doctor      Truly good communicators say as much with their physical pres-

 “eyes
your
     Do       or nurse in a controlled setting with office staff they have known
              for years. Patients share private information with them based on
              trust that has developed over time and understanding that these
                                                                                        ence as with actual speech. It is easier to gain more information
                                                                                        if the way you present yourself invites the patient to communicate
                                                                                        with you. Crossing your arms, impatiently tapping your foot, or not
  convey      individuals have their best interest in mind. In the prehospital          directly facing the patient may convey that you are not particularly
              environment, patients are expected to entrust their physical well-        interested in the patient or what he has to say. The counseling field
 interest     being and private medical information to those they have never met        uses the acronym SOLER as a reminder to sit squarely, have an
              before, and to do so merely seconds into the patient-provider rela-       open posture, lean forward, make eye contact and relax.2 While
 in what      tionship. While it is sometimes important to gain information very        prehospital providers do not have the same luxuries of time, the
   your       quickly, in many cases you can spend a minute or two getting to           basics remain the same. Whenever possible, it helps to face
              know your patient and the situation. Rapport is most easily estab-        patients, make eye contact when speaking with them, and show
patient is    lished by providers who are confident and professional, and who            interest in them and their presenting problem. There is evidence
              take the time to communicate with their patients.1                        that people 
								
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