Carma Bylund Co-Authors Article on Improving Patient Communication While Wearing a Mask
Carma Bylund, Public Relations associate professor at the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications and associate professor in the Division of Hematology & Oncology at the UF College of Medicine, is the co-author of “10 Ways to Improve Patient Interactions While Wearing a Mask” published on MedPage Today on Aug. 17.
The article focuses on challenges clinicians encounter when trying to communicate with a patient while wearing a mask. They suggest 10 strategies to enhance communication, increase empathy and boost relational closeness.
The strategies, created by Bylund and co-author Anna Kerr, include:
- Focusing on what you are able to do given current conditions
- Being an active listener
- Not engaging in uncomfortable levels of eye contact
- Mirroring what you are saying with hand gestures and body language
- Exaggerating emotion with your eyes and not your entire face
- Using vocal variety to convey emotion
- Focusing on talking slower but not louder
- Looking for empathetic opportunities
- Minimizing dominant communication, and
- Modifying your communication to match your patient’s.
According to the authors, “Our hope is that these 10 strategies reassure clinicians who are feeling exhausted and frustrated by the communication challenges while wearing a mask that there are many ways to connect with patients when genuine smiles and sympathetic touch are restricted. Any combination of these strategies can help you provide compassionate care from behind a mask.”