Wednesday, 22 June 2016
6 HOT TIPS FOR COMMUNICATING WITH CARE PROVIDERS
How to communicate with care providers
I wrote this with the occasion of labour in mind, but the tips are useful for many encounters with healthcare professionals.
Communicating effectively improves your chances of getting the birth you want, as well as increasing satisfaction.
These awesome tips are not just for mum! During labour it can be difficult to do things such as establish eye contact or talk. They are practical things that Dad can do to help keep communication clear, enabling informed decision making.
TIP 1- EYE CONTACT
Making and maintaining eye contact (as culturally appropriate) is a way of building a connection and trust with healthcare professionals. Eye contact is an important body language signal and demonstrates that you are listening and thus prompts further conversation. You will also be more likely to notice any hesitation or reluctance from your care provider, and will be able to then verbally explore the possibility and reasons behind any of their hesitations.
TIP 2- REMEMBER THEIR NAMES AND USE THEM
Midwives are busy. Very very busy. Using their name, and in particular remembering their face and name can interrupt their the cycle of 'doing the job' and refocus the midwife onto your individual situation. One way to remember a name is to repeat it, for example, "nice to meet you, Janis" as opposed to just "nice to meet you" on multiple occasions when you first meet your midwife.
TIP 3- BE GLAM WITH A PLAN
Have a birth plan/preferences/wishes/flowchart/map/roulette wheel (you got me... not the last one). Know what you want and what you don't want (in an ideal world) so that if your situation deviates from that path you can step purposefully forwards having made a decision about your preferred alternatives, rather than being pulled along with the tide. Creating a plan with someone experienced in birth planning creates options and alternatives you may not have known existed.
TIP 4- ASK FOR A COUPLE OF MINUTES TO THINK
When conversations get tense, or there is a change in the plan, if you are feeling even the slightest disquiet about a decision, ask for time! It can be difficult to communicate with your birth partner effectively with an audience of a doctor, midwife, nurse or all of the above. In lieu of a genuine medical emergency, your healthcare providers should be more than happy to provide you the privacy you need to take a moment to think and communicate as a couple before committing to a decision.
TIP 5- BRAIN ACRONYM
The art of asking the right questions! SPOILER ALERT- this tool is fabulous!
Benefits- what are the benefits of the procedure/change in plan
Risks- what are the risks of the procedure
Alternatives- are there any alternatives (this could be as simple as choosing more time)
Intuition- what does your gut say?
Nothing- what if you do nothing?
TIP 6- COMPLIMENT THEM... WITH A TWIST
Twist your compliments up with a little bit of advocating (Bonus points for using their name here!). Check this out:
Birth Partner: "Hi (midwife, nurse, OB's name), I just want to say how grateful I am to have you here supporting (mother's name) to achieve her natural birth. It really means a lot to us."
If possible- it's best to have your healthcare provider on your side. Sugar talking is great, but be genuine... and keep your compliments relevant, even if they do have nice hair.
There you have it! 'Birthy' communication in a nutshell.
If you have used these or have any more tips, feel free to add to the comments section below!