Communication is the responsibility of one person and one person only: the sender. If the sender fails to effectively share information with the recipient, then it isn’t the recipient’s fault if plans go awry.
Have you ever gone to the grocery store only to find yourself with a shopping list you can’t understand? Perhaps your partner used shorthand you’ve never seen before, or you can’t read your mom’s handwriting on her recipe. We can celebrate the small victory that you even have a list – writing things down is an important part of the communication system – but it’s hardly useful if it isn’t conveying the information that you need. If you want someone to pick up the exact ingredients you need from the store, you’d better make that shopping list crystal clear. Even if it seems redundant, it’s better to overcommunicate than to have to make another trip to the store.
Effective communication is your responsibility as a health care provider. When you’re talking to with patients, make it a point to overcommunicate with them. Take time to ensure that they understand what you’re saying and what their next steps are. Strong communication will lead to healthier outcomes for patients and less stress for you.