Thoughts on communication

Research output: Contribution to journalShort surveypeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Living without the ability to communicate is humbling. Time spent on a sabbatical in Florence, Italy, taught me that my outgoing manner, my interactional skills, and my ability to establish rapport, all personality traits and skills that I thought would overcome my inadequacies as a communicator in Italian are not immutable. I gained some understanding of what our nonnative English-speaking patients might feel. I learned the following lessons: (1) be cautious - what appears to be a lack of interest may be a lack of understanding; (2) our perceptions of aptitude may be mistaken if based on patients' facial expressions and body language; (3) we should not adjust our words and speed of speech just because we think a patient cannot understand what we are saying; and (4) language is an amazingly powerful tool - the inability to communicate transforms us.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)263-264
Number of pages2
JournalAnnals of family medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2006


  • Communication
  • Education
  • Physician-patient relations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Family Practice


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