INTERPERSONAL COMMUNICATION AND SPECIAL SITUATIONS
Interpersonal communication and communication during special situations are skills that every EMS professional needs to be proficient at and requires practice as well as critical thinking.
Interpersonal communication, applied effectively, can greatly impact bedside manner and patient reception of EMS as a whole. Trust and rapport, earned by the following, are crucial components to the success of interpersonal communication:
- The EMS professional always self-introduces at the start of any conversation and works to make and keep eye-contact, if appropriate.
- When practical, the EMS professional should position himself/herself a level lower than the patient or at least on the same level.
- At all times, the EMS professional should be honest with the patient and use language that is easily understood.
Medical jargon is not widely understood and should be avoided.
- Every EMS professional needs to be aware of his or her own body language and should speak calmly, clearly, slowly and distinctly.
Using the patient’s proper name, either first or last, depending on the circumstances, is appropriate. EMS professionals should avoid using pet names like “honey” or “sugar.”
- If a patient has difficulty hearing, and EMS professional should make sure to speak clearly with their lips visible.
- Always allow the patient enough time to answer a question before asking the next one and always act and speak in a calm, confident manner.
Communications During Special Situations
- Communication with hearing-impaired, non-English speaking populations, and the need for the use of interpreters are situations that all EMS professionals need to be prepared for and require the same types of interpersonal communication skills applied to the rest of the public, but also require critical thinking.
- Interpreters are often employed at hospitals and can be reached via telephone, and hearing-impaired people often have devices that assist them and should be employed during EMS contact.
Improvisation is a skill that will be tested in EMS professionals during communication and in many other ways during a long career.