Tillidsfuld kommunikation: En undersøgelse af kommunikationens påvirkning på førstehåndsmødet mellem hospitalslæge og patient

Nadia Sechrest Gramstrup

Student thesis: Master thesis


There is a high level of dissatisfaction amongst patients in the Danish health care system. Studies have shown that almost half of the complaints that the Danish Patients’ Complaint Board receive are due to poor communication. Therefore, it is interesting to examine how these complaints potentially can be avoided through bettering the communication between doctor and patient. Thus, this thesis seeks to uncover which expectations patients have to the doctor’s communicative behavior. More specifically, this thesis examines which communicative requirements patients demand for in their first-hand meeting with hospital doctors. Additionally, there is a central focus on the presence of trust in the hospital doctor, both as a person but also in the doctor’s professional skills. A preliminary quantitative study showed that trust was one of the primary determiners concerning whether patients were satisfied in the first-hand meeting. This focus is thus combined with the role of especially the doctor’s nonverbal behavior to uncover how trust is established through communication – more specifically through nonverbal communications forms. Accordingly, a focal focus point is the role of the hospital doctor’s nonverbal behavior and how this affects the presence of trust in the doctor.
To examine this, three theorists are chosen to aid achieve a deeper understanding through applying their theories to the thesis’ empirical findings. The analysis is based on data from quantitative and qualitative studies. The quantitative study serves as a preliminary study to narrow down the problem area and the qualitative study serves to achieve a more comprehensive understanding of the communicative demands put forth by patients. The qualitative study is based on eight participants who are all chosen based on their diagnosis and experience with first-hand meetings with hospital doctors. The three theorists that serve to answer the research questions are Eide and Eide (2007) with their theory of active listening, Joyce Travelbee (2008) with her theory of building a person-to-person-relationship, and Niklas Luhmann (1989) with his theory of trust. These theories are chosen based on their ability to each answer an aspect of the research question.
It is confirmed in the analysis that the hospital doctor’s nonverbal behavior holds a central role in determining whether the patients have trust in the hospital doctor. It is found that especially the doctor’s ability to appear obliging, emphatic, and open through body language are central aspects. This includes the hospital doctor keeping eye contact, greeting by handshake, and using an appropriate level of physical closeness to the patient. Furthermore, it is found that it is important that the doctor acknowledges the uniqueness about each patient if the patients are to be content in the first-hand meeting. If these aspects are fulfilled, there is a good chance that the communication between the hospital doctor and the patient will be successful. It can therefore be concluded that the hospital doctor’s ability to accommodate the patient’s needs in regard to choosing a proper communicative behavior will better the patient satisfaction rate in the first- hand meeting with hospital doctors.

EducationsCand.ling.merc Erhvervssprog og International Erhvervskommunikation (Multikulturel Kommunikation i Organisationer), (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2017
Number of pages79
SupervisorsChristine Lenstrup