Transitions

Transitional statements are used as guides to allow the patient to understand better the logic of the interviewer's questioning and for the interview to flow more smoothly from one topic to another. An example of a transitional statement might be, after learning about the current medical problem, the interviewer's statement ''Now I am going to ask you some questions about your past medical history.'' Other examples while the history is documented might be, ''I am now going to ask you some questions about your family'' and ''Let's talk about your lifestyle and your activities in a typical day.'' Usually, the line of questioning being pursued is obvious to the patient, so transitions are not always needed. On occasion, however, a transitional statement such as ''I am now going to ask you some routine questions about your sexual history'' may bridge to this area comfortably for both the patient and interviewer. Avoid phrases such as ''personal habits'' or ''personal history,'' because these expressions send the message of what the interviewer considers these habits to be; the patient may be more open to discuss this area and may not consider it ''personal.'' Other words to be avoided include ''like'' or ''have to'' (''I would now like to ask you some questions about your sexual habits'' or ''I now have to ask you some questions about your sexual habits'').

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