The Waiting Game
In some sectors of NHS work, practitioners can use solution focused skills which will reduce their waiting lists. Some examples of groups of patients whose own thinking and behaviour make a difference to their progress are those in primary care counselling and all sectors of mental health; dietetics; physiotherapy; occupational therapy; speech and language therapy; and audiology.
Most professionals already work intelligently, skilfully and ‘hard’ — but what does ‘hard’ mean? What about working smarter, and making it easier on themselves too, by inviting more of the patient's energy and motivation? Where time is necessarily limited, it is possible to work with the patient to face this condition together, collaboratively and straightforwardly, and turn it to positive advantage.
How can we do this?
As well as applying such helpful tools as process mapping and Gantt charts to sort out glitches and bottlenecks in the whole system, solution focused conversations can be used to enlist the patient's motivation, co-operation and responsibility.
The practitioner can do this by:
- Being open about the number of sessions available
- Giving the patient as much power as possible in terms of using those sessions (eg spreading the intervals between them)
- Working with the patient to develop well-formed, achievable goals tailored to the time available (see solution focused questions)
- Helping the patient to identify milestones and little steps
- Counting down at every treatment session
- Creating arms-length, post-treatment support
- Finishing positively and respectfully.
These skills involve using positive language to shape conversations. This way of talking enables the patient to use the professional to best effect, and the professional to focus on giving their best work in the time available.
Contact me for more information on training sessions about how to use solution focused language to address waiting lists.