The power of compassionate listening

We as a team delivered a huge “win” in my book this week. We experienced a patient that to us all just seemed unjustifiably upset over us running late for her promised time.

Of course, we were assisting an emergency patient at the time who threw us into a later than promised pattern. Naturally we felt justified in our broken word, and she felt upset over our disregard for her promised time.

I would not say we did anything magical here. What we did, was simply acknowledge our broken promise of seeing her on time. We then listened without our “filter” of our concerns, but rather, listened to her out of being 100 percent responsible for her upset and our broken promise.

After I had left the office, the patient was talking over her care with my office manager. She ultimately was in tears and shared a life circumstance that was jarring. She had been injured by a driver under the influence, and was, at the prime of her life, inflicted with a life altering injury.

Together, my team and I have been through courses such as the Landmark Forum, and have been able to institute a new way of thinking and relating to our patients. Not just as a medical record number or a dental issue. But as a whole and complete being. Through these courses and our efforts to install them as daily practices here in the office, we are able to build a doctor patient relationship that allows our patients to feel a whole new level of trust and compassion.

Now there is no amount of training that I received in residency, dental school or anyplace else that ever taught me compassion, and I especially never learned listening. In that moment I believe we healed her more than anything my hands or surgical procedures could achieve.

In a profession that is ever changing and highly stressful, where I am always on the go. Its sobering to know that aside from all of my well learned expertise. Just giving a listening ear can turn someones bad day into something great.