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Developing your consultation skills

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Practice nurses consult in every patient intervention, whether formally or passing the time of day in the waiting room. They are alert to the patient's body language and physical symptoms.

The maxim to follow is surely: 'do as I would be done by', endeavouring to treat all patients and their relatives (regardless of age, gender, race, sexuality or disability) as you would wish to be treated.

A range of skills is required to undertake a safe, professional consultation with different patient groups. This article offers suggestions for further developing consultation skills.

Self-assessment or self-evaluation is the process of critically reviewing the quality of one's own performance and provision of nursing care frequently, over time. The process should be future-orientated, as the past cannot be altered, but changes can be made to improve services or skills.

Identify individual strengths and weaknesses. This can be the initial step to developing and/or improving consultation skills. Although an analysis of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) conjures up a picture of academia and jargon, it is a useful tool to start the process of self-evaluation.

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The structured layout of this article and the clear examples enabled me to use these methods to analyse my consultation techniques. Thank you
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