If you watch an episode of “Bill Nye the Science Guy” or “Bill Nye Saves the World”, one can see how he successfully teaches many people (including kids) the fundamentals of science. He does so in a way that offers great insights into how medical professionals can effectively communicate with their patients. As we’ll explore below, he uses 4 key techniques that help him do so:
- He clearly explains the concept at hand using simple terms.
- As Albert Einstein once said, “The definition of genius is taking the complex and making it simple.” When Bill first explains something complex, he’ll break it down into simple terms. He’ll go in-depth on a topic like “vaccinations” but makes sure to start by clearly explaining viruses and antibodies. He knows that you can’t have a discussion on something unless the basics are first well understood.
- He uses analogies and visuals.
- Bill Nye may be the analogy-master of the world. During his explanation of a concept, he’ll frequently use multiple analogies as well as various visuals to help engage the audience and ensure deeper comprehension on their end.
- He is open to discussion from different opinions.
- On each episode of his show “Bill Nye saves the world”, he holds a panel discussion with various experts where debate is encouraged for that day’s topic. By doing so, he’s demonstrating the importance of looking at things through a different lens and keeping an open-mind on differing opinions.
- He integrates the available information to make a conclusion.
- Coming full-circle, he’ll explain what we now know and what still remains up-in-the-air. He’ll integrate all this information with available evidence and come to a conclusion on the topic.
So, how can medical professionals benefit from his example? When explaining a diagnosis or treatment to a patient they can start by breaking down the subject into simple terms, using analogies and visuals as aides. They can discuss their opinion on the matter, the patient’s opinion, as well as that of other medical professionals. Then together they can come to a mutual conclusion/understanding that has been effectively communicated and unbiasedly led to.
Written by Dr. Brandon Buchla, DC, CSCS
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