That moment before you greet your next patient. That brief pause in your day. Maybe you take a deep breath, remembering how frustrating your commute was this morning. Or your last patient was a complex diagnosis. Or that you haven't slept in you don't even remember how many hours. Whatever thoughts come in that short moment, you decide with this patient there won't be any small talk. You don't want to open that can of emotional worms.
Unfortunately, by attempting to avoid the small talk with your patient, you could be missing vital health information. Or, at the least, an opportunity to develop trust and rapport with your patient and their family. With the ever growing connection between mind and body, and especially the affects of adverse childhood experiences on the future health of children, engaging in this seemingly "small talk" while providing trauma informed care really can affect your patients health, treatment adherence, and overall recovery.
The importance of, and ability to, implement trauma informed practices into daily care extends to all medical settings. The key is to adjust the trauma informed practices to your setting. For example, if you're an emergency department provider, you might simply explain that fears and worries are normal while giving easy to understand explanations of medical procedures. If you work in rehab, you will likely validate your patients feelings of frustration, and then help them to identify their strengths and coping resources.
Are you ready to not sweat the small talk? Join the conversation on our Facebook page and share your tips on providing trauma informed care and addressing the emotional aspects of care and recovery.