When I was 2.5 months pregnant I went to the ED because I thought I was going to lose my daughter.

I received both the best bedside manner and the worst. All in the same visit. 

My provider was burnt out and overworked, head of a busy and understaffed metro ED. It was understandable. He assessed me quickly and sent me to ultrasound to check my baby’s heartbeat. 

When I got to ultrasound, my sonographer saw the concern on my face. He immediately held my hand and wiped my tears. We didn’t exchange many words. What was only supposed to be a 5 minute test ended up being a half hour visit.

In my nursing career and in my personal life, I’ve been both a good listener and a bad one. There’s a stark difference between the two.

“Successful relationships are an act of co-creation. You must both listen and volunteer. When we express vulnerability, we’re giving some of the tools. When we listen, we’re gaining some tools. When you both have tools you can build something together.”

-Simon Sinek 

Listening can alter the entire trajectory of an experience, healthcare or otherwise. Listening is intentional. It’s being aware of body language and gauging facial expressions. Sometimes it involves an exchange of words and other times it’s just sitting in silence. When we’re feeling vulnerable and we share, we need someone to sit in the mud with us. Likewise, when we’re the listener, we must give space to the other person. 

It’s an act of co-creation.

It can be hard, but it’s necessary.

So today.. be a good listener.

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