Technical Communication in Health Care

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Michelle Schroeder

Manager of Clinical Operations

Michelle is the manager of Clinical Operation at Aurora Health Care for the Greater Milwaukee South Urgent Care Specialist Group. She manages all of the employees at the ten urgent cares in her area. Her position includes: writing budgets for each clinic, approving invoices, assisting in the hiring and firing process, managing the supervision teams at each site and ensuring day to day operations flow appropriately.

What Led Her Here?

Michelle has a Baccalaureate degree in nursing and has held positions as a nurse assistant, a nurse technician, a licensed practical nurse, and a registered nurse, prior to becoming the manager of clinical operations. She has experience in different areas including: rehabilitation, emergency medicine, orthotic and chemo/oncology nursing. Michelle was a charge nurse for a year before she was promoted to supervisor and recently was promoted to management.

Communication in the Workplace

“Communication is an essential part of my position” Michelle stated when asked how communication is incorporated into her job. She has one hundred and forty eight direct employees. For her to ensure that operations are smooth and changes are initiated in a timely manner she is required to use many different forms of communication. These forms include: verbal, written and electronic communications.

Communication Challenges

Michelle finds electronic forms of communication the hardest in her line of work. She says “Whether it’s via email or a lync message, written communications lack tone and body language that is otherwise present in verbal interactions with each other.” Depending on the mood of the recipient, or how the writer worded something, an entirely different message can be conveyed. Due to this, all of Michelle’s direct employees take annual training on electronic etiquette.

Cross-Cultural Communication

In health care, you are required to provide patients with care in their primary language. Michelle’s team utilizes interpreter services to be able to provide this service to their patients if the provider is unable to communicate with them in their primary language. The contracts with interpreter services are expensive and for that reason, it’s a great help to be fluent in another language.

Technical Communication

For documentation purposes written communication is essential. For any plan of care you develop you have to make a progress note or enter some form of documentation. Michelle states that, “The golden rule in healthcare is that if you didn’t document it, you didn’t do it.” Documentation needs to be precise, accurate and factual. It must formulate a clear picture of what is going on with the patient to organize treatment modifications.

Working with the health care team to create an accurate report is also essential. Every ancillary department works with the provider directing care to build a report of what is going on with the patient. It is necessary that communication is accurate and timely so true results are added to the chart.

Active listening is another vital form of communication in the healthcare field. Working for an urgent care, there is no schedule or warning on what will walk through the door next. It is essential for our staff to actively listen to patient complaints to be able to determine what the problem is quickly. Additionally, we often deal with emergent situations that require the team to work together under high stress situations.

Comfort in Communication

Michelle says she is comfortable with technical communication in her role. “Whether it’s pulling reports from medication records, or creating a presentation on building a new site, I rely on my team to get me accurate information to present and then do I my best to convey the information in a way that’s meaningful and easy to understand to stakeholders.”

I will leave you with this meaningful quote from Michelle we all need to hear:

“In my job, success relies on being able to communicate with others in a meaningful way.” Michele Schroeder

 

Kailey Nash, Guest Blogger

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