Effective Communication with Patients during Mammography


There are some basic guidelines for effective communication skills that X-ray techs and other healthcare workers can follow. These will allow you to establish a more effective relationship with your patients. The procedure of getting a mammography exam can be stressful for the patient, and their cooperation is important for achieving accurate results. Therefore, it is important to keep your patient calm and stress-free. This article will discuss how to effectively communicate with your patients to reduce their stress and get accurate imaging.

There is plenty of evidence available regarding the advantages of effective communication in the medical field. It has been seen that communicating well with patients helps them relieve stress and put forward their trust in the treatment plans. Healthcare workers are trained to make their patients comfortable at every stage, from the diagnosis to the treatment.

Why is mammography stressful for patients?

Doctors use mammograms to detect early signs of breast cancer; therefore, it is necessary to get accurate imaging. The process of getting a mammogram is stressful for women because of the very fact that breast cancer is suspected. The results may be negative, but waiting until the results are out makes them anxious. Different women have different mammography experiences. It is uncomfortable when the Mammography Technologists apply a little pressure on the breasts to get a true picture. Discomfort and pain are normal during a mammography session; however, the X-ray tech has to have the ability to calm their patient down through effective communication in order to pass the X-ray examination with as little discomfort as possible.

X-Ray Tech Communication Guide

The degree of direct contact with patients may vary based on the nature of radiology practice. A mammography technologist has direct contact with the patient, and needs to establish a healthy relationship for the patient to be stress-free and confident while undergoing the X-ray examination. Here is the guide that mammography techs can use to provide a safe and healthy environment to their patients, and help them stay calm until the results are declared.

Introduce Yourself and Keep a Positive Attitude

The patient needs to know about the basic details of the radiologic technologists, like their name and their role in patient care. Keeping the room’s ambiance positive by speaking gently and doing a round of ice-breaking sessions is advisable. The patient should be informed about all the people in the examination room, such as the nurse, the trainee, etc.

Clearly Explain the Procedure

Make your patients aware of the clinical procedure they are about to undergo and what the process will look like. Avoid using medical terminology, and explain things in a way your patient will understand the process well. You should ensure that the patient knows about any pain or discomfort they might experience during the process. An X-ray tech should be able to satisfy a patient completely before taking their consent.

Inform the patient that their body parts will be touched, and why it is necessary to touch or remove a particular part of clothing. In addition, communicate the purpose of the examination and how it will be helpful to them. Another important piece of information is to disclose the duration of the process to the patient.

The patients have to sign a consent before starting the procedure. You should make sure that the patient is signing the consent willingly. Then, let them ask questions to prepare themselves for the examination and produce accurate imaging in the first go. Your goal is to reduce patient anxiety, prepare them for the examination, and carry out the procedure successfully.

Ensure the patient’s comfort

Patients who undergo mammography are tense because mammography is the first step to detect cancer. Some patients may have a history of similar situations, while others may not be too comfortable during the procedure. As a mammography tech, you have to ensure the comfort of your patient with verbal or non-verbal communication. Every patient will demand a different level of comfort from you, requiring your presence of mind. If a patient is uncomfortable upon being touched, you should be able to make them comfortable.

Making your patients actively participate in the examination by giving them a role to play will make it easier for you to control their anxiety and avoid repetition. They may ask you questions related to the treatment plan if their results are positive; make it a point only to disclose the information that may not distress them.

When the breasts are compressed during the examination, some women might feel a lot of pain. It would be best to use an understandable language and pain scale to assess the level of pain. Assessing the level of pain will help you to communicate better with the patient.

Have Patience

Your patients might be slow to understand and respond to things you try to explain. It may be because of their age, disease, cognitive difficulties, etc. In such situations, you have to give them the needed time and space to feel safe and respected. Use graphics and written communication whenever necessary to make it easier for the patients to understand and get through the procedure.

Effects of Proper Communication on Patients

Proper communication plays a vital role in patient care and getting the right diagnosis without repeating the test. Here, we mention some positive outcomes of effective communication with patients during mammography:

  • It has proved effective in reducing stress, anxiety, and blood pressure levels.
  • It helps in building trust among patients and the mammography tech.
  • It results in patient cooperation during the procedure.
  • It helps prevent repetitions

Final Words

X-ray techs are among those healthcare workers who have direct contact with their patients. Most mammography technologists are females in order to increase the comfort level among women. The examination itself is overwhelming for the patients. They get anxious thoughts regarding the diagnosis and results of the examination. Therefore, mammography technologists should use effective communication to build trust with their patients and relieve them of their stress. The points mentioned above have proved to create a safe environment for patients undergoing mammography. When the mammography tech informs the patient about the procedure, they tend to be more careful and corporate during the examination.


Read more about this and other subjects in our 15 Category A Credit X-Ray CE Course “Mammography Review”

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