2 March 2020
The television show I decided to watch for a healthcare to patient relationship was “Royal Pains.” This show is about two brothers starting up their own private medical practice in the Hamptons and taking on their patients to start a new life outside of New York City. In the episode I decided to watch, Hank (the doctor and older brother) was treating a patient who had recently suffered from a heart attack. During their communication at the patient’s bedside, Hank was able to use some great technique, but also there were some situations were it could have been better.
For his positive technique, he was able to demonstrate active listening; while employing this technique, the patient was able to let out all of his questions regarding what happened and how nervous he was and what he needed to do to maintain better health. I was able to observe Hank making direct eye contact during all communication, he was slightly leaning towards the patient to show that he had interest, and he was relaxed. This allowed the patient to not hold anything back, and allow the health care provider receive as much information as he could. Another positive technique I observed was Hank’s use of providing information to the patient and his family. After the patient was in stable condition, Hank was able to let the family know his diagnosis of a heart attack (mainly due to the patient’s uncontrolled high blood pressure) and that he was in stable condition resting. This provided information to the patient’s family showed signs of relief, especially knowing that the medical team was able to determine the diagnosis and find out that he was in stable condition. The final positive technique I was able to observe was asking relevant questions. Hank’s ability to ask open-ended question in a timely manner allowed him to be able to find the patient’s diagnosis at an early time period so it could be treated. Also, these questions allowed Hank to realize that the patient was not properly taking his blood pressure medication, so this provided information at a possible underlying cause.
Although Hank did show many positive techniques when communicating with his patient, there were some negative points, especially when discussing about health literacy. The patient did understand a few medical terms like blood pressure and heart attack, but not enough to connect all the dots to why he had experienced a heart attack in the first place. Hank came to the conclusion that it was caused due to his uncontrolled blood pressure, and the patient did understand that, but he just was not able to make the connection. So, Hank was not able to use plain language during his patient education; this in turn would leave the patient even more confused, and a big misconception made by the health care provider that the patient should be taught about his medication for his blood pressure. Another negative was that he did not ask the necessary questions about the patient’s medication list. He did not ask anything about the route, benefits, side effects, or even what the medication is for. For a patient that obviously has problems with taking medication, this would be one of the first topics to discuss and make sure the patient is educated in this specific field, because instances like these may lead to possible death.
Even though this television show is fiction, it was nice to be able to apply some of the communication techniques I learned in class and identify when they are being used in a healthcare environment as well. Watching medical shows now, a lot of them make more sense and I am able to pick up on the benefits and negatives between communication techniques and see how they could be better, almost as a way for me to practice for events in a real healthcare environment.