Hearing and ListeningCreated by:
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Hearing by definition is merely one's awareness of a sound while listening requires paying attention to the sound that one hears. When we hear, we can opt to tune out the sound. Listening is different because we try to understand the sound that we hear. Why am I mentioning this? I have noticed that most healthcare professionals hear but do not listen, especially in the early stage of their careers. We tend to cut the patient's story when we feel that he/she mentioned a pearl that needs a follow-up question. History taking then becomes an inquiry of what we want to hear based on the bias of our diagnosis than a communication wherein the patient can give more important details. Communication is key in healthcare. One of the most important skills that we need to develop is to become a good listener. Once we are able to listen and give uninterrupted attention to the patient, rapport is established and a comprehensive patient history is being offered without questioning. As Bates' guide to Physical Examination has emphasized, this important sentence holds true "Listen to the patient because he is already giving you the diagnosis."
For the MIMS community, do you follow this approach of asking open-ended questions or do you prefer a directed and focused history taking approach?