Living Breathing Medicine Podcast – Learning to Listen with Dr. Viday Heffner

Dr. Cecily Havert and Dr. Natasha Beauvais speak with Dr. Viday Heffner, who works in Pediatric Emergency Medicine at Children’s Wisconsin, and is also the training director for the pediatric emergency medicine fellowship program. Dr. Heffner shares the story of a patient who taught her the importance of withholding judgment, as well as the lessons she’s learned from and shared with her fellows.

Episode Highlights:

  • 0:40 – Dr. Cecily Havert introduces Dr. Viday Heffner, the Training Director for the Pediatric Emergency Medicine program at Children’s Wisconsin. Dr. Havert shares how they met during their time together at medical school, and what they will discuss on this week’s episode.
  • 2:43 – 3:25 – Dr. Havert and Dr. Heffner reminisce about a shared memory from medical school.
  • 3:55 – 6:13 – Dr. Heffner shares more about herself, the types of patients she sees, and what she enjoys most about her practice.
  • 7:35 – 11:19 – For Dr. Heffner, getting the entire story changes everything. Dr. Heffner discusses a story about a time she learned a valuable lesson in listening from a patient of hers, a mother of triplets.
  • 11:55 – Because many doctors see the same things repeatedly, it is easy to have preconceived notions about patients. This was a great reminder for the providers to get the entire picture for each patient.
  • 14:07 – 18:36 – Patients are more willing to give the complete story when they feel heard and understood. Dr. Heffner talks about the importance of framing the questions in a way that makes her patients feel comfortable and engaged.
  • 18:48 – 19:00 – The process Dr. Heffner explains in the chain of communication shows that the training process Dr. Heffner implements is working for both the patients and providers.
  • 20:00 – 24:01 – The providers talk about the importance of being a great communicator and “interpersonal navigation.”
  • 24:48 – 31:19 – Setting expectations is essential with patients – when going to the ER, it is already scary enough. Giving patients the full story and the full health plan will put their minds at ease and make for a more enjoyable office visit.
  • 31:54 – 32:49 – Sometimes, especially in the emergency room, the most important thing for a parent is reassurance that their child is going to be okay. Reassuring parents and learning how to communicate with parents is essential.
  • 33:26 – 37:42 – The providers discuss humility and the importance of it in the medical profession. Dr. Heffner shares a story about a time when a co-worker put their ego first.
  • 39:24 – 41:57 – Dr. Heffner recalls a story about a time during her first few weeks of training, where she learned that feedback and anyone could speak their minds was encouraged at her hospital.
  • 43:18 – 47:18 – Dr. Beauvais asks Dr. Heffner about “frequent fliers” in her ER and follows up about the person from the opening story Dr. Heffner told.
  • 48:26 – 48:33 – Dr. Havert and Dr. Beauvais thank Dr. Heffner for her time, and tease the next episode dropping on Friday, May 20th.

Living Breathing Medicine is a podcast from Northern Virginia Family Practice. Find us on Facebook and LinkedIn, and be sure to subscribe so you never miss an episode. You can also nominate health care providers for future interviews here.

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