Are You Really Listening?

February 10, 2015 9:08 PM

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Are You Really Listening?

Communicating is more than just expressing yourself clearly; it's about listening clearly -- paying attention and blocking out all the mental clutter and distractions. When we were kids we learned to listen to our parents and teachers because we knew we would be in trouble if we did not listen. But somewhere along the way, perhaps as the number of distractions in our lives increased, many of us are not paying attention as well as we should. The disciplined kind of active listening that allows us to truly understand the information we hear in order to improve our decision-making seems to have fallen by the wayside. This is painfully true in the health care setting.

"What we've got here is a failure to communicate," is a famous line in the Paul Newman movie Cool Hand Luke. It was recently used by Dr. Diane Meier, director of the Center to Advance Palliative Care, in an article in Medscape Close Up. She spoke with Art Caplan, PhD, of Langone NYU Medical Center's...

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