The Lifesaving Power of Listening to Patients with Empathy

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We are excited to welcome back a familiar face to the Healthcare Experience Matters Podcast this week! Nita Magee, PhD, RN, MHNP-BC, returns for her latest appearance on our show and a crucial talk about actively listening to patients with empathy and the drastic difference it can ultimately make for better outcomes.

As our dedicated listeners can attest, Dr. Nita A. Magee’s insights consistently illuminate and prove invaluable. Her compassionate and dedicated leadership in our field is truly admirable, and we are honored to have her return for another insightful episode.

Dr. Magee is a mental health nurse practitioner with the G.V. (Sonny) Montgomery V.A. Medical Center in Jackson, Miss. With more than 30 total years of experience in healthcare, she has been with her institution for the last 26 years.

In our last interview with Dr. Magee, we discussed the importance of managing patients’ expectations. Throughout that conversation, it became evident that a major theme revolved around the concept of listening. Recognizing the pivotal nature of this aspect within the patient-provider relationship, we were inspired to devote an entire podcast episode to the art of effective listening.

You can catch up on all of her previous chats with us here:

Some of the crucial topics covered in today’s conversation includes:

  • Helpful Tips for Listening to Patients with Empathy
  • How Listening to Patients with Empathy Saves Lives
  • Actively Listening to Patients to Provide Hope (and Even Fight Suicide)
  • How Body Language is Crucial in Patient Care and Bedside Manner
  • Actively Listening to Patients to Create Better Overall Outcomes

Dr. Magee emphasizes that empathetic listening sets the stage for positive interactions with patients.

During the opening minutes of today’s discussion, she shares a poignant example where empathetic listening helped her identify a patient in crisis who may not have otherwise opened up.

The importance of trust and building a rapport in patient care is highlighted throughout this chat, emphasizing that without these building blocks, patients may withhold crucial information that could impact their well-being.

The discussion also touches on the role of body language in effective communication. Dr. Magee explains that non-verbal cues such as nodding, maintaining eye contact, and being physically present contribute to creating a supportive environment for patients to share their concerns.

Dr. Magee acknowledges the challenges of time constraints in healthcare settings but emphasizes the need for healthcare professionals to balance efficiency with empathetic listening. She suggests seeking permission to extend the time if necessary and, when applicable, involving the patient in decisions about time management.

Furthermore, the conversation explores the connection between empathetic communication and better patient outcomes. Dr. Magee discusses how building trust and involving patients in their treatment plans lead to increased compliance and adherence to medical recommendations.

In closing, Dr. Magee encourages healthcare professionals to distinguish between empathy and sympathy and stresses the importance of lifelong learning and staying culturally competent to provide effective and unbiased care.

We invite our listeners to reach out to Dr. Magee for further information or coaching, as her wealth of knowledge and experience in the field is truly second to none. You can contact here:  

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