Navigating the medical maze

Tips on how to reduce your chances of being a victim of medical malpractice

Robin Price
W231- Professional writing

Going to the doctor can be scary. Most people have a fear of doctors. We’ve all heard the stories about patients having the wrong leg amputated, incorrect medication doses being given to patients and numerous other horror stories that resulted in harm to patients or even death of a patient. These examples and many others are results of miscommunication with in the medical field and ultimately A

According to an article on statnews.com written by Melissa Bailey in February 2016. Hospitals and physicians’ offices could have avoided nearly 2000 patient deaths and $1.7 billion in medical malpractice cost if only communication had been better. Here are some tips on how to reduce your chances of becoming a victim of medical malpractice.

  1. Check your Doctors credentials

As a patient or potential patient, you have a right to check your doctor out. When possible before you see your doctor or select a new doctor you can verify their licensing, board certifications, medical school attended, where they did their residency, actions against them like medical malpractice and other disciplinary actions. Federation of state medical boards website you can look up doctors by entering their first and last name and location of practice at docinfo.org.

 

  1. Prepare list of questions to ask your doctor

When we go to the doctor we usually don’t feel well. Sometimes we feel nervous, feel rushed or receive so much information we often forget what we wanted to ask the doctor. By preparing a list of questions before the appointment and bring it along we can review the questions and address your concerns.

 

  1. Bring your medications to your doctor’s appointment

If you are on several medications this is very helpful. Often medications change, dosages change, and frequency taken changes. If can become very hard to remember all the changes, but if you bring the medication, in its original bottle, you will have all this information with you. Enabling you to correctly communicate this important information.

 

  1. Know why you are taking a medication

Many medications can be used to treat several medical issues. It is important to know why you are taking a specific medication. If you see more than a family doctor the other doctor will need to know why you take a medication before they can prescribe additional medications. Some medications will counteract each other.

 

  1. Follow up on medical test completed

Often our doctor visit includes orders for tests such as blood test, x-rays, MRI’s ect. Physicians will usually have these results within a few days. Keep track of what test you completed and when you completed them. If you have not received results from your doctor’s office in about 3-5 days call your doctors office and ask for results. DO NOT ASSUME NO NEWS IS GOOD NEWS.

 

  1. Make a list and put it in your wallet or billfold

We can’t always remember everything, or we may not be able to answer the questions. Be prepared! Make a list of any medications you’re on including the name, dosage and frequency taken. Make a list of any drug allergies you have, be sure to include any egg and nut allergies.  Make a list of all surgeries you have had including the year of surgery. This list will usually fit on a 3” X5” index card. Place this card in your wallet or billfold with your driver’s license or ID card. In the event of an accident, responders will usually check for your drivers license or ID card and will see the list.

 

  1. Know what you are signing

Doctors offices and hospitals usually give you a stack of forms to be filled out and signed before you even see the doctor. Read them, know what they are before you sign them. If you do not understand them ask for an explanation. You have patient rights and they include knowing what you are signing at any time when you are a patient.

 

  1. Ask!! Ask!! Ask!! Ask!!

Take control of your healthcare. Ask questions. Ask what the diagnosis is, what medication is for, what are they treatment options and any other questions you can think of.  Ask the doctor or nursing staff to write down or print out information. Then go home and research, look up the diagnosis and treatment options and make notes. If you have more questions call the doctors office and ask. Asking questions increases communication.

There are many things we, as patients, can do to reduce our chances of becoming victims of medical malpractice. One of the most important things we can do is communicate with your doctor. By asking questions and taking an active role in our personal healthcare we are reinforcing strong communication and improving the quality of care we receive. Use these tips to help you start improving communication with your doctor and aid in reducing your chances of becoming a victim of medical malpractice.

 

Do You Hear What I Hear???

 

woman wearing headphones standing beside man

Photo by Nicholas Githiri on Pexels.com

Listening to me and Hearing me are two different things. How well do you listen? According to PR Daily, less than 2 percent of the country’s population, have had formal education on how to listen. Did that not just blow your mind, because mine is flabbergasted! We communicate everyday with people from around the world, only to realize what we are saying to each other is only being heard, and not comprehended. I have 3 quick points on how we can enhance our communication skills, by simply improving our listening abilities.

  1. Pay Attention
  2. Open Your Mind
  3. Interact

These tips do not have to be completed in order, but you will realize it is much easier to get a better understanding of the conversation if you do. Now to break these tips down into a simpler form.

  • Paying Attention is the key to the conversation. This allows the sender and receiver, the opportunity to feel each other out. It is also needed to retain pertinent information.
  • Open your mind to all ideas, whether you feel like it is good or bad. You never know what someone else can bring to the table, not to mention we all fall short of knowing everything, so always be willing to learn something new.
  • Both the sender and the receiver should interact with each other. By doing this the other knows if the message sent is clear. Interaction could be as simple as eye contact or a nod of the head. The point is you are letting the other know you get it!

I have found in relationships that I have with others in my life, communicating effectively is so important. Not understanding what someone is trying to tell you, after they have said it over and over, and you have heard it over and over, is past frustrating. That is why during the communicating process, we must openly listen to each other and pay attention to the details in the message so that we can respond to it effectively. Considering there are so many cultures that make up our country, some ways of getting a message across will vary. These steps might not work for every situation, but they can assist with the process.

Why must we listen?

When you were young do you recall your parents telling you to LISTEN?  Perhaps you remember them saying ‘I know you hear me but are you LISTENING to me?’ At the time did you wonder ‘What is the difference?’ Let me try to explain what the difference is and why it is an important life skill.

Hearing is a physical activity that refers to the vibrations your ear receives then turns into sounds. On the other hand, listening is much more involved and can be a physical AND mental activity.

There are also different types of listening. For example, active listening involves not only the physical activity of listening to what is being said but also in watching the body language of the speaker. Effective listening requires focus, and concentration which requires both physical and mental activity. Both types are extremely important in our daily communications.

By being both an active and effective listener you can help in preventing miscommunication, misunderstandings, establish a connection with the speaker, and also improve the interpretation of what is being said.  I am sure we have all experienced a variation of miscommunication or misunderstanding. What if you had a simple misunderstanding while working on project and someone was hurt? Could a  miscommunication from a co-worker lead to clients losing their investment? Would you lose your job? Unfortunately, all of these things can and have happened.

Here are some ways you can improve your listening skills.

Maintain eye contact. By keeping eye contact with the speaker your mind will wander less and the distraction of those around you can be kept to a minimum.

Remain attentive. Once eye contact is established you can remain attentive and you are likely to absorb and retain more information.

Keep an open mind. Save your questions and judgements for the end of the speech simply because they may be answered at the speech progresses.

Listen to the words the speaker is saying and when you hear them in context and it will help in interpretation and limit misunderstandings.

Don’t interrupt. Of course this goes without saying however we often need reminded.

Employers are providing workshops and seminars to their employees simply because of they want to emphasize the importance of listening. Listening is a skill that is not only required but essential for the workplace, relationships, and everyday communication.  How well do you think you listen?

 

 

By Lindsay McIntosh,  Senior at IUPUC

 

 

Have You Heard That Men and Women Communicate Differently?

For years you have grown up listening to people tell you that men are physical/sexual beings while women are a roller coaster of emotions. Although, no two people are alike, I found that this statement is in fact true for the most part.

 

Men communicate with the intent of independently making a decision. Women communicate to process all the information that they have just received and talk it over again. In conversation, Women tend to have more in depth conversations. They add memories and emotions when communicating. While Men, have much more simpler conversations leaving out the fine details and only adding in extra information when asked to do so.

 

If you have noticed in a workplace that Women do not hesitate to approach Men with information or questions that they have directly face to face. While Men will approach Women from the side angle because face to face conversation is sometimes declared as to personal for Men while working. Have you noticed that Women tend to nod their heads as a sign of affirmation that they understood what you were saying or explaining? All women are secretly shaking their heads right about now. Well, Men tend to nod their heads as a sign of agreeing with you or the argument at hand. Women, next time you are listening to a male co-worker speak make sure that you are aware if you nod. Sometimes they will misinterpret this as you agreeing with them and not just you acknowledging what they said.

 

Communication also has an unspoken language. Body Language. Women, we have been doing this since we were born. It is almost like body language is hidden away in our DNA and it literally shows in our faces every day. We have faces for everything; sad, happy, disgust, confused, and lost. While Men on the other hand have one face with a hint of smile every once in a while. Too often we give ourselves away in our facial features. They should have a class in High School on how to contain your facial expressions when you are in the middle of a conference for work. Many times the way a Women shows her body language gives away how she is feeling or what she is thinking at the moment when she doesn’t necessarily want it to be known yet.

 

So, with all of the information I have given today I have a few pointers to remember in everyday life whether it be at home, work, or school.

 

Take these facts with a grain of salt. Like I said before, no two people are alike. Men and Women will always communicate differently.

Stay Aware. Make sure you know how to communicate correctly between people. The way to talk to one person may not be the same method you use to talk to another person.

Finally, Get Information. When you interact with people on a daily basis it is ok to ask them questions. If you know a little more about them you can communicate with them more easily.

 

By Brittany Sample, Business Major – IUPUC

 

 

Closing the Age Gap

If I had a dollar every time my grandparents asked me how to use Facebook, fix their phone, or even how to send a text with a picture attached, I’d be rich. In today’s society of ever-evolving technology, the baby boomers seem to have a much steeper learning curve than the millennials.

The communication style between these two generations is drastically different for many reasons. One of which being that the technology that is available today is very different than the technology that was available in the 1970s/1980s. Many millennials have grown up communicating through texts and snapchats instead of through outdated letters and phone calls. Baby boomers would not be able to figure out snapchat and can barely figure out how to text. Most of them would much rather call if they need to talk or reach someone. Although these two styles of communication are much different, the same idea is behind each form of communication and the same goal is achieved, just in a different way.

Another big difference between baby boomers and millennials is cell phone usage. Today, it is becoming more and more acceptable to carry a conversation through text, while also carrying a conversation in person. If you have ever tried to even send just one text while talking to a baby boomer, you most likely received a dirty look, or a snarky remark about your phone. To them, the act of even just checking your phone while carrying a casual conversation can come across as extremely disrespectful.

Even though at times the communication styles between these two age groups seems to be drastically different, the one thing we all have in common is all generations have a need for human interaction. No matter the form.

 

Emma Sanders

Psychology Major at IUPUC

What Martial Arts Belt Are You When It Comes To Presentations?

How well can you kick butt at presenting? I have videos and quizzes below; let us find out how much you know presentations and what belt you rank. Take notes while watching the videos to see what the mistakes or improvements are then take the quizzes to test your knowledge.  Please leave comments on the page to let me know what you think!

Delivering a bad presentation – spot the mistakesYoutube.com. University of Bedfordshire, 6 Jan. 2012. Web. 13 Apr. 2017. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ATfY8dvbuFg&gt;.

Did you cringe as much as I did watching that video? Did you see any mistakes that were happening with this presentation? If so, then take this quiz and see where you rank in kicking presentation butt.

Presenter Quiz:

https://www.playbuzz.com/haleyt26/what-not-to-do-in-a-presentation

Power Point Quiz:

https://www.playbuzz.com/haleyt26/what-should-not-be-in-a-power-point

How well did you do? If you scored as a Black belt, then you are on the right track of kicking presentation butt, if you scored Blue belt then that just means you have a couple more things to learn!, if you scored White belt then my friend this blog is here for you. Take these skills and learn how to make yourself a Black belt when it comes to presentations! Here is a video of what a good presentation looks like. Take notes and see what you notice the differences are.

Delivering a good presentation – identify the good techniquesYoutube.com. University of Bedfordshire, 6 Jan. 2012. Web. 13 Apr. 2017. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5utoLhjUuAI&gt;.

If you are still not sure you got everything, check your notes with the cheat sheet below mark off what you got right. If you have the information down, try retaking the quizzes again!

Presenter Mistakes:

  • Does not have the technology prepared or know how to use the equipment when it is their turn to present.
  • Did not introduce herself
  • Was playing on her phone and taking a drink at the beginning of the presentation.
  • Presenter is facing the presentation screen and not the audience.
  • Presenter is reading from the slides instead of using it as reminder points.
  • Presenter has her arms crossed while talking.
  • Volume is too low or too fast.
  • No eye contact or scanning of the room to keep connected to the audience.
  • Audience did not have time to ask questions or receive answers.

Power Point Mistakes:

  • Bad choice of background color, and font color.
  • Inconsistency of images, spacing and fonts. (not professional or uniform throughout)
  • Overcrowded slides
  • Irrelevant & unprofessional pictures along with unnecessary and unprofessional animations/transitions.
  • No reference list at end for her citations.

Presenter Improvements:

  • Presenter introduces herself and her topic
  • Faces the audience instead of the board
  • Uses good volume and speed throughout the presentation
  • Moves hands but in a non-distracting way.
  • Does not read every point off the slides, only looks at slide to read the examples.
  • Breaks away from looking at the slide to make eye contact.
  • Gives the audience time to answer her questions before giving the answer.
  • Gives more time for audience to ask questions before ending presentation
  • Ends presentation with a positive attitude and conclusion.
  • Presentation is engaging the audience

Power point improvements:

  • Uniform slide colors (not too dark or too light)
  • Uniform font size and colors (does not blend into the background, easy to read from a distance)
  • Examples in presentation are a different color to highlight the point. (does not distract or blend with the background color)
  • Slides are not overcrowded
  • Great use of bullet points
  • Did not use unnecessary or unprofessional images
  • Did not use unnecessary or unprofessional animations/transitions.
  • Moved through slides at an even pace

 

Did you score better this time? If so then great! You are on the right track to being a Black belt at presentations! Take this information with you to help determine between good and bad presentations from here on out.

 

By: Haley Thompson, Business Major- IUPUC.

 

Communication with Foreign Co-Workers on Overseas Assignments

There is no doubt that we are globalizing ourselves and that we are more diverse than before. The United States has become a land of many cultures. Communication has become better through technology and the socialization of the human species. Yet, how can we prepare employees for an overseas assignment? This is something that can be seen in two ways, a structured plan for the assignment itself and the in-depth cultural communication factor.

In an article in the Harvard Business Review, Andy Molinsky and Melissa Hahn write that there are five ways one can succeed on an overseas assignment in a structured way.

  • Have a purpose and a person who can promote that purpose. Having the right person to make this assignment work is quite important, especially in cultural understanding and understanding of the project.
  • Having a close connection to home works well, that way the person overseas doesn’t lose touch with what he or she is doing for the company. A good mentor would work.
  • Communication between the worker and employer needs to be constant for best results.
  • Before leaving, it is ideal to start on talks of how the assignment was beneficial and what was learned.
  • The company can distribute what it learned from that experience.

We often forget that to have a successful assignment overseas, the communication between the employee and the foreign team is crucial. We need to consider cultural, social, and language barriers amongst diversity and work. There is no denying that “…English is now the global language of business.” as mentioned by Tsedel Neeley in her article Global Business Speaks English. But this doesn’t really help many. My interview with Dr. Joann Jones, Executive Director – Leadership Development for Cummins, led to these tips.

  • Prepare the assignment ahead of time so that everyone working on the assignment can understand the assignment.
  • Know that there will be a need for clarification as language and cultural barriers are present.
  • If possible, know the language and culture of where one may stay can improve results.
  • An ending follow-up on the assignment will be helpful, especially a written documentation of the progress and results. This may help clarify any miscommunications.

Making sure an overseas assignment is completely worked out is the main goal, but knowing the cultural factor and having a structured plan can lead to a successful assignment.

 

By Alvaro Garcia, Business Major – IUPUC

The Baby Boomers vs. The Millenials

If you are a young person sitting at a family event and happen to be texting your best friend about the next time you want to hang out, you may have been told by your grandmother to get off your phone and that you are becoming antisocial. It may not have happened to you, but it sure has happened to me.

What I do not think the generations before us understand is that communication is evolving with society. They see our ways of communicating with each other as unnecessary or inefficient. However, I feel that our generations have similar ways of communicating. Past generations would write letters to friends that lived farther away because they had no way of communicating with them otherwise. Heck, they would even use telephones to call them. The combination of these sound fairly familiar to me. I see the combination as a cell phone. The letters are the equivalent to texts, and the calls are pretty obvious. A major difference between the two generations would be having a landline vs. having a cell phone. I know my grandmother has a landline, but I do not.

Also, each generation has their own lingo. With each generation comes new words. For our generation words like “swag” and “twerk” have formed, but the older generations look down on us for them. I am not saying I myself am proud of these words, but they also formed words like “hickey” and “fuzz”, which means police. These words are also not the most intelligent, and I bet the generation before the baby boomers found this lingo unnecessary. It is like a never ending cycle.

Seth Sharpe

 

A Good Way to Deliver Bad News?

Is there a right way for a company to announce bad news? The answer is yes, even though bad news is never good, there is a good way of announcing it.

An example of someone delivering bad news the wrong way would be BP’s CEO Tony Hayward. When the BP oil spill that happened in the Gulf of Mexico. Hayward said in his speech how the oil spill was relatively tiny and that the environmental effects would be modest. This was a lie, the BP oil spill spilt billions of gallons of oil into the ocean and cost 11 people their lives.

Tony Hayward made the mistake of saying that a huge incident with massive environmental effects. This was a way for him to feel better about delivering such bad news to so many people, but it also undermined just how big the incident was.

There are many wrong ways to deliver bad news but there are also some guidelines to help deliver it properly. You always need to speak up and deliver the news as soon as possible. This means that there’s no hiding it or setting it aside for later. Secondly you need to make your statement accurate, don’t try to make it seem like a smaller deal than it is. Lastly, you need to say what your plan to do next is. You should never deliver bad news with no attempt at a solution. This causes people to panic a bit more trying to think of something to do.

Through all the horrible examples of people deliver bad news like Tony Howard, there is a proper way to deliver bad news. All you have to do is follow the steps.

Sources:

Andersen, Erika. “How Great Leaders Deliver Bad News.” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 07 Mar. 2013. Web. 30 Mar. 2017.

Murderer, Widower, or Both?

“He’s cute,” said Penny. “Doesn’t that teardrop tattoo mean he murdered someone?” asked Bernadette. Canned laughter ensued. I was watching The Big Bang Theory, and that one statement was all I knew about teardrop tattoos. I have since researched teardrop tattoos and learned that, while the tattoo can have many criminal connotations, it may also simply signify the death of a loved one or some other tragedy the wearer has experienced. At the time, however, based on the information I had, teardrop tattoo equated to murderer; and this was further supported by my past experience of having a coworker with a teardrop tattoo, who, rumor had it, had been convicted of attempted murder.

Clearly, how we present ourselves matters, and in the workforce, it matters based not on what we mean to portray, but based on how we are viewed by those we are portraying ourselves to. Tattoos are an example of nonverbal communication, something that gives people an impression of us based on their own interpretations of how we look. A first impression is made in a matter of seconds, and, later, is very hard to overturn, which means that how we present ourselves can be our biggest weapon or our greatest downfall. Navigating the world of nonverbal communication is especially difficult when dealing with a workforce comprised of multiple generations.

A Harris research poll found that nearly half of millennials and a little over a third of Gen Xers have tattoos, while barely over 10% of Baby Boomers sport tattoos. In a workforce composed of at least these three generations, a tattoo will mean different things depending on the viewer. The fact that first impressions are made within the first few seconds of meeting someone means that, in an interview, a decision to NOT hire a candidate may be based on the nonverbal communication that occurs before a job applicant even has a chance to open his/her mouth.

As a millennial myself, I am not arguing that people should not express themselves via tattoos. I am simply urging readers to know their audience. An interview at a start-up begun by millennials like ourselves and an interview at a long established company with Baby Boomers in the positions of authority should be approached differently in regards to physical appearance. The same goes for actually working at these different establishments; being taken seriously at one may require a different appearance than being taking seriously at another. We can argue about the ‘injustice’ of the subconscious discrimination occurring or we can take control of the only aspect of it we are truly in charge of: ourselves. As Oscar Wilde says, “It’s the spectator, and not life, that art truly mirrors.” In other words, that teardrop tattoo can signify your heartache for your late wife all you want, but if the viewer thinks it means you murdered her…chances are…you won’t be hired.
By: Stephanie Baumgartner, Biology major at IUPUC

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