This week I was chatting to a friend of mine who is receiving visits from a District Nursing service to help them to manage a current health challenge. My friend is generally extremely complimentary of the service they receive and very grateful for the care and support that they provide.
Apparently one of the requirements for the ongoing provision of this service is that the recipient has showered prior to the visit which then enables the treatment by the nurse to be more efficient and ultimately pleasant! Due to some challenges circumstances for the last few visits it has not been possible for my friend to have a shower and this had been explained to the service provider and noted on my friends file. The nurses that then visited were aware of the issue and readily accepted the position, knowing that it was temporary and all that could be done in terms of ongoing cleanliness/hygiene was being done.
On a recent visit however, it became apparent that the file note had not been read by the nurse as she asked my friend if he had showered as required and his advice that he hadn’t been able to prompted a very negative response from the nurse. In fact my friend said that he felt like he was being lectured at because the nurse went on to say how this was unacceptable, that he should know better and then reiterated all of the reasons why patents/clients are required to shower prior to visits – all of which my friend already knew and appreciated.
Not once did the nurse adopt a more curious approach to find out why my friend hadn’t been able to shower – it was clear that she has assumed it was recalcitrant behaviour being displayed and went into what I call ‘critical parent’ mode which makes the other person feel like they are being told off. My friend reported to me that the best way they could think of to deal with at the time was simply to apologise because it was clear that the nurse wasn’t interested in hearing my friends side of the story. In fact when someone is talking at you like this, unless you are comfortable with asserting yourself (which many people aren’t) it is often natural behaviour to acquiesce and comply with the wishes of the person giving the lecture.
Stepping back from this situation I hope you can see two obvious things:
1) The nurse did not bring the mindset of wanting to understand to the table which means that she wouldn’t then ask Better Questions
2) If she had asked Biter Questions not only would that have changed her understanding of the situation and behaviour, my friend would not have walked away from the encounter feeling belittle like a naughty schoolchild, which is clearly not a good outcome.
Whilst not a pleasant thing for my friend, I am grateful to them for sharing the situation with me as it has give me a good example to write about to demonstrate how in so many everyday situations Better Questions provide better answers and outcomes.