“I wrote this reflection in 2013, as a freshly minted physiotherapy student at the University of the Western Cape. I am going through similar processes today in Medicine. It’s beautiful to see the parallels. I am glad I started blogging early. Recorded reflections are a gift that keeps on giving.”
I have realized that when I feel uncomfortable around a patient that has a little to do about the patient, most of the time it’s usually me who is uncomfortable about my skill and techniques. One of the reasons that make me uncomfortable around patients is because I do not know how to plan and structure my patient’s interaction.
In the past time I have spent at ‘Astra Special School’ I realized that the first words that come out of my mouth set the tone of the whole interaction. When you say “Hello, Eighta Buddy, Molo, Good morning so and so” whatever greeting you choose to use will set the standard and the quality of the information you will get out of the child. As you my notice these greetings differ, some are formal, informal, cold and distant, more professional, too personal and some are friendly but unprofessional.
I can not really say there is a right and a wrong a of greeting a patient as we spend time with patients and interact with them we begin to get the feel of how we should approach the patient next time we see them. Some patients would prefer a professional to be a professional, that a physiotherapist just does what he is paid to do and quickly finish so he can continue with his life, usually such patients require a professional physiotherapy approach.
Other kids who come to physiotherapy department see the whole opportunity of receiving physiotherapy as an opportunity to have fun and play games, this is not particularly wrong of children because this is how we have presented physiotherapy to children as a time to play with a professional.
However I have noticed to be a bit problematic with this approach it that now a physiotherapist is always expected to live up to the standard of always making therapeutic sessions fun and playful even when it’s not necessary, should you say now to such a patient good morning today we are going to stretch your hip joints because I notice a decrease in ROM then you have a problem, because now the greeting is no longer “hello buddy”
Greeting does not have to be as complicated than it needs to be, but it’s very important, it makes people feel valued and appreciated, eye contact is also very important when greeting and interacting with a patient it a polite way of showing them that this moment is all about them and you care what they have to say.