There’s a simple rule to keep you out of trouble when talking with staff members or patients. The rule is: Don’t discuss sex, religion or politics.
The reason is that all three subjects can be controversial, offensive or inappropriate. Comments that you think are interesting or humorous may very well be disturbing to someone else. Each of us has our own cultural and personal standards in these areas, and you risk ruining a practice-patient relationship—not to mention losing a patient, triggering negative social media posts, etc.—if you venture into these taboo topics.
There’s a fine line between an innocent remark and sexual harassment or embarrassment. Don’t take chances. Just skip anything related to sex altogether.
Religion, in its way, can be equally sensitive. There are many different beliefs and levels of intensity. Some people may find your religious comments perfectly acceptable, while others might be offended. Best to avoid this subject altogether.
And then there’s politics. People have become very polarized politically and often dislike it when others disagree with them. If you feel a need to express your views, reserve it for friends, family or cocktail parties… which, of course, could still be dangerous, but at least it won’t cost you patients!
Learn more about communicating with patients in Dr. Levin’s book, What to Say, What Not to Say. Go here for details, and click the link to read an excerpt.
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