Don’t Talk to People

‘Kind of Awkward’: Doctors Find Themselves on a First-Name Basis

If you’re a doctor, you’ve probably heard the advice about how to start a conversation with someone out of the ordinary: Don’t talk too much, just start with “tell me how your day was.”

The problem is, if you’ve heard it like 100 times, you may not get a response. In fact, you’ve probably stopped listening by the time you get to the part about the day he/she had.

That’s why Dr. Amy Smith, medical director of the U.S. Deaf Health Foundation in San Diego, says she doesn’t talk to people and doesn’t think people should talk to her.

“I want to go about my day as I would go about my day with someone I knew,” Smith told in an interview. “I don’t think anybody should ever have to think about how to start a conversation with a stranger.”

But that’s how it works with Dr. Smith, who does everything in her power to avoid talking to people out of the ordinary.

According to Smith, just because you don’t need to talk to someone doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try.

“All you have to do is talk to someone who doesn’t know or can’t speak,” Smith said. “And if that person feels comfortable speaking to you, try. That’s how I have always done it.”

In fact, many doctors and nurses say they don’t talk to patients because they feel awkward or self-conscious.

“That’s so old and so un-American,” said John B. Adams, vice president of patient care and quality and of quality at Memorial Hermann/Texas Medical Center. “We’re trying to provide the best care for our patients and communicate with them and that’s what I’m trying to do as I go about my work and as a doctor.”

But Adams said it’s important to talk to people, including those you don’t

Leave a Comment