The Mystery of Just Listening

With all the rapid changes swirling in healthcare and impacting nurses’ daily practice there still exists nursing’s foundation.

One thing that is basic in all our early learnings is,

How To Listen  



Like many, I’ve completed numerous listening trainings along the way.

And yet now, more than ever, I am mystified by the power of listening, just listening.

This is what I have to keep learning:

Listening is an Intervention

Listening is NOT just a tool to inform all other interventions,

but an intervention in and of itself.

It’s true that all listening has positive impacts,

but Reflective Listening produces powerful results.

By just listening and then feeding back your ‘Best-Guess’ statement of what you think the patient is saying about their life situation … produces changes in feelings and behaviors.

This gives patients the opportunity to hear themselves and to feel heard.


Having this SHARED EXPERIENCE of the SHARED MEANING of their disease or event with a nurse, where there’s:

No judgment

No dismissiveness

No questions

No problem solving

… has power.

Just Listening and feeding back your ‘Best-Guess’ statement…

Creates trust, helps trigger thoughts, helps your patient gain self-awareness, helps your patient validate and …

Has the powerful potential to:

  • Change patient behaviors
  • Reduce patient suffering


Miller, W.R. & Rollnick, S. (2103). Motivational interviewing, Helping people change (3rd ed.). New York: Guilford Press.

Tressolini, C.P. and Pew-Fetzer Task Force. Health Professionals Education and Relationship-Centered Care. 1994. San Francisco: Pew Health Commission. Accessed March, 2016.

Hill M, Watson, J. Creating A Caring Science Curriculum. 2011. New York: Springer Publishing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *