Sunday, September 9, 2007

Functional Illiteracy in the Workplace

A physician's illegible scribbling on a patient's chart represents an obvious risk of misinterpretation. But what about people in the healthcare industry who suffer from varying degrees of functional illiteracy?
Listen to the people with whom you work. See if you detect some curious speech patterns. For example:

"So I said to him, like, ya know, like, what are you, like, gonna do for, ya know, like, dinner?"

Some people who specialize in nonverbal forms of communication (Stephen Hawking, Muhammad Ali) have risen to great heights. Many others are functionally illiterate. While they may be brilliant cooks, carpenters, middle managers -- or doctors-- their inability to use the English language properly can lead to embarrassment and/or professional failure.

Next: Everyone Makes Mistakes

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