The Power of Analogy

February 16, 2013  |  Neurology Study

When I was a budding doctor last year, I found it very difficult to express my knowledge properly to my patients, because I often answered their questions with the stiff sentences from textbooks (and I guess some of the patients found it hard to understand my words too, especially for those came from the countryside!). I really had a hard time at that moment, and what was worse—I didn’t even know how to make a change. Until, one day, when we were carrying on with ward rounds, I heard our doctor-in-charge explaining the pathogenesis to one patient. “You can imagine the vascular to be a water pipe”, she said, “and the plaque is just like scale. If there’s too much scale, it will block the pipe, so that water cannot go through it. And this situation is the same with vascular.” Then the patient smiled, nodded and said he understood. I was very surprised to see what power the analogy had, and how it could make communication easier in clinical practice!

Since then, I often drew analogies to explain to patients about their illness, and I find proper metaphors worked very well:) I also learn many interesting analogies from here (link). Fight on analogies!

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