Karen Cortell Reisman

What to do and say when your dental patient has a medical challenge

Dec. 11, 2012
Karen offers tips from personal experience.

Karen is pictured here with her daughter Courtney, sans wig.

As I complete my recent health journey with breast cancer, I would like to share some communication tips to help you interact with your patients, colleagues, and friends who are dealing with medical situations. By the way — I'm fine, and I'm grateful.

1. DO stay in touch with someone who's going through a health challenge via email, text, or phone message. Any of these are great.
2. Do NOT ask the person who's sick to return your call or electronic message. That's a burden.
3. DO say or text, "You do not have to return this call/text/email."
4. Do NOT ask, "What can I do to help you?"
5. DO something that you would like someone to do for you, such as mail a get well card (appreciated and unobtrusive), meet for a walk, wash their car, make a meal, drive them to a doctor appointment, bring lunch, take them for a manicure, or make a donation in their honor. And, DO tell the person that they do not have to write you a thank you note.
6. Do NOT talk about your own experiences (or the medical outcome from your brother-in-law's mother's aunt...) with this type of illness. You are there to hear your friend's story; your friend is NOT there to hear yours.
7. DO listen, if the person wants to talk. That's right. Just listen. Biggest gift of all.

These tips worked for me, and I hope you will use them as guidelines for you when you interact with your patients and friends.

Please follow through with your annual checkups. It could save your life. My successful journey began with an annual mammogram.

©Karen Cortell Reisman, MS

Karen Cortell Reisman, MS, author of two books and president of Speak For Yourself®, works with organizations on how to make more money. It’s all in how you speak for yourself. Contact her at www.KarenCortellReisman.com.