GDC Standards and how you communicate with your patients

An informal straw poll this week revealed that many dentists have little or no working knowledge of the GDC’s requirements on how you communicate with your patients.

I don’t know how likely it is that a patient will have you hauled in front of the GDC for breaching Standard 1.2 on voice tonality and body language or even Standard 2.1 which is about listening but that is not the issue anyway.

Most dentists will hopefully recognise the importance of clinical standards not just because the GDC say so but because they have the right values and want to provide the best level of patient care that they can. So the issue is really about how aware you are of your soft skills or communication skills and what impact they will have on your patient’s perception of the care that they receive and also the impact that these skills have upon your bottom line.

“What a load of nonsense!” I can hear some of you say. “We do fine as we are and we don’t need to be trained on how to be nice to our patients” and of course you would be right, you don’t need to be trained to do it. We are all perfectly effective communicators in our own way. Observe the way that a child naturally learns how to get the response that they want from a parent and that they learn this very early in life. Think about how with some patients you seem to be able to build a relationship very quickly and they respond to your suggestions to ways that they can improve their dental and oral health. Then there are the patients that you feel more comfortable talking about treatment plans and money with than other patients.

Why do some patients respond differently to you and why do you respond differently to some of them too? There is a lot going on here and a lot to understand but it’s not about being trained in how to communicate, it’s about learning why something works for you and what works for you. If you understand this then you can adapt your behaviour and communication with different patients in order to get the best outcome for you both. This is about you understanding more about what you are already unconsciously competent at. The more you understand it, the better you can become at it. You don’t need scripts and painful role plays to learn more about how to communicate effectively!

If you would like to know more about this fascinating subject and get better at it then I can help you. I have teamed up with one of the UK’s most demanded experts in communication* to provide you with a workshop that will change how you communicate with your patients. You can follow this link for more information.

*Source – http://www.vistage.com