Jargon

Clinicians and managers often rub each other up the wrong way.  There are a hundred and one reasons, but one common one is the use of jargon.  I have seen doctors become almost apoplectic when certain words are used by managers:  ‘robust strategy’, ‘congruence’, ‘going forward’!  This is all the more ironic when you consider how often doctors use their own medical jargon.   Indeed, sometimes doctors delight to use words they know the managers won’t understand.

 Jargon is useful short-hand when people have a shared understanding, but should be avoided with ‘lay’ people as it simply obscures meaning and raises suspicions.  Clinicians know this from their training, when care is usually taken to use straightforward words with patients.

So, be self-aware when choosing your vocabulary and check to ensure that you understand what each other means.  Don’t be intimidated by new words, but rather verify meaning by asking explicit questions.  Generally, people are impressed and pleased because some of them might not know what’s going on!  You will be seen as honest and open, which is a likable trait.

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