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A wonderful technique that I picked up from the newsletter of my friend Wendy Leebov’s, Heartbeat, that she uses to enhance the communication and emotional connection between nursing staff and patients is called CUS.

CUS is an acronym that stands for:
I’m concerned….
I feel uncomfortable…
I feel scared….

CUS* originated as a technique for staff to use with physicians as a way to express their level of disagreement or discomfort with an action or inaction affecting patient safety. For example, “I’m concerned about the safety of this procedure in this situation…”, “I feel uncomfortable about the way this is being carried out…” to the highest alert of saying, “I feel scared this will result in….”

Wendy suggests using this technique for nurses to engage in a more emotional connection with their patients by creating a two way dialogue of asking the patient to give more than a Yes or No response. “Tell me, what concerns do you have?” “Tell me are you uncomfortable about anything?” “Please tell me, are you anxious about anything?”

I believe this is a wonderful technique that can be used outside of healthcare too!  Think of the last time you went to purchase a vehicle? Were you concerned, uncomfortable, a little scared of the process? How about the last time you bought a new home, computer, phone, etc.? Most of us will listen to the salesperson discuss the features and benefits they hope will meet our physical needs.  But it is the rare salesperson who will take the time to listen to their customer to meet their emotional needs.

Would you feel better about the experience as the customer if the interaction between you and the salesperson went something like this:

“Tell me what concerns do you have about this new phone?
“I want you to be comfortable as possible, tell me is there anything about the phone that makes you uncomfortable?”“I want to do all I can to ease your mind. Is there anything that is making you feel anxious about this purchase or decision – please tell me.

Teach your employees how to use CUS with their customers. It is a technique that can be used by most all businesses and organizations to help their customers feel better about their experience and purchase decision.

*Quality Safe Healthcare 2004, 13 suppl, i-85 – i-90

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