In Healthcare, We Must Choose Our Words with Care

Written by Rick Kirschner, ND
I value words, because I've discovered that choosing them wisely makes a tremendous difference in the kind of results I can achieve and how long it takes to achieve them. In my experience, well-chosen words are certainly a key to success.

When I was a student at NCNM, my mentor at the time told me that there are two things that distinguish the exceptional doctor from the acceptable doctor. He said that the exceptional doctor knows how to listen and how to talk. Why does that matter? My mentor said it like this: “Because most patients would get better if their doctors would just listen to them, and most doctors make their patients sick by the way they talk to them.”

I've seen the truth in those words over the span of my various careers. Words well-chosen help people turn knowledge into action. They give you access to your patient's mind - body connection, which means they have therapeutic meaning, impact and influence.

I've also observed that when words spring from a narrowed mind, they can complicate and polarize a relationship and interfere with getting worthwhile results. And when a doctor's words carry too much certainty and importance, they can build a wall instead of a bridge, just as words spoken without thought can conceal your true meaning.

I've learned that indeed words have the power to motivate and to inspire right action. They stir memory and vision. They capture pieces of useful experience. You can say more with less, achieve more with less, and give your patients your very best, if you remember the power of your words, and choose them with care.