5 Study Guide Answer Key Interpersonal Skills and Human Behavior

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Study Guide Answer Key

Interpersonal Skills and Human Behavior

Vocabulary Review

  1. Jill commented that the new office policies are confusing and ambiguous.

  2. Giving a patient an injection against his or her will could be considered battery.

  3. Shane’s remark was insulting and caustic.

  4. Whitney vehemently denied leaving the narcotics cabinet unlocked.

  5. With the increasing number of lawsuits, medical personnel can conclude that our society is quite litigious.

  6. Angry employees who are being terminated might turn volatile in a short time span.

  7. The notion that large individuals are lazy is an example of a stereotype.

  8. Sayed uses positive feedback while he is training a new employee.

  9. Rahima demonstrates aggression when she attempts to get her way in every situation.

  10. Paula has learned that she uses defense mechanisms when she feels threatened by her supervisor.

  11. Karen felt intense grief when her grandmother died.

  12. Paraphrasing helps Angela make sure she understands exactly what a patient meant.

  13. Roberto eventually was terminated for using sarcasm with several of the patients in the clinic.

  14. Bobbie attended a seminar last week and learned about proxemics, which included the study of the spatial separation that individuals naturally maintain.

  15. Sue Ann definitely felt out of her comfort zone when she was asked to be a guest speaker at a regional AAMA meeting.

  16. Mrs. Robinson is able to enunciate her words quite distinctly.

  17. Dr. Kirkham warned that no employee should speak to the media about any of his celebrity patients.

  18. Rodman has a language barrier at work, because he speaks so little English.

  19. It is important to consider the patient’s perception of the staff, clinic, and physician.

  20. Dr. Rockwell took Julia off of phone duty because the high pitch of her voice was disconcerting to many patients.

Skills and Concepts

Part I: Open-Ended and Closed-Ended Questions

  1. Are you taking blood pressure medication?

Answer: C

  1. Are you allergic to aspirin?

Answer: C

  1. Would you tell me about your past surgeries?

Answer: O

  1. Do you have asthma?

Answer: C

  1. What types of attempts have you made to stop smoking?

Answer: O

  1. Explain what you feel when your migraines begin.

Answer: O

  1. Do you have hospitalization insurance?

Answer: C

  1. Do you want a morning or afternoon appointment?

Answer: C

  1. How are you feeling today?

Answer: O

  1. What type of trouble do you have when swallowing pills?

Answer: O

Part II: Defense Mechanisms

  1. “Everyone forgets to clock in from lunch once in a while. Why am I being singled out and written up?”

Answer: b, Projection

  1. “I refuse to believe that I’m HIV positive. I’ve only had sex with two people in the past 5 years.”

Answer: k, Denial

  1. “I would do a better job at work, but I can’t do everything in 1 day like I’m expected to.”

Answer: f, Regression

  1. “I know that the office manager is angry with me because I’ve been late and I should talk to her, but I just can’t deal with that stress right now.”

Answer: j, Repression

  1. “Why are you attacking me about not filling out the narcotics log? You certainly aren’t the perfect medical assistant!”

Answer: a, Verbal aggression

  1. “I know my blood sugar is high, and I have tried to avoid sugar, but at least I’m doing my exercises twice a week.”

Answer: d, Compensation

  1. “Dr. Roberts only yells at me because he’s stressed about his patient load.”

Answer: h, Rationalization

  1. “It doesn’t matter what I do to please my family. They hate me anyway, and there’s nothing I can do
    about it.”

Answer: g, Apathy

  1. “I have enough on my mind and don’t need my co-workers complaining that I’m not doing my share of the work!”

Answer: i, Displacement

  1. “I can’t bear to go to Memorial Park for our office picnic, because that’s where my ex-husband told me he wanted a divorce.”

Answer: e, Physical avoidance

  1. “Sure she looks good, if you like people from the 60s!”

Answer: c, Sarcasm

Part III: Barriers to Communication

  1. Cylinda has lived in the South all of her life, and when Bruce came to work at the office, his brusque attitude made her feel defensive. She was so offended by his manner of speaking that she began to avoid him in the hallways and during breaks. He constantly spoke of how much more he’d been paid in New York and stressed the efficiency of the clinic where he formerly worked. Cylinda considers him a typical Northerner, and her dislike of him is based largely on the fact that he is different from her and most of the people she knows.

Answer: Stereotyping

  1. Aretha dreads the days that Rahima Bathkar comes to the office. She is a pleasant patient, but Aretha cannot understand her well and feels as if she is not providing Rahima with the care that she deserves. She is always worried that she is missing some information that the physician needs to know to diagnose and treat the patient properly. Aretha takes extra time with Rahima, but she is concerned, because there is no one to interpret for Rahima when she cannot find the right word in her broken English.

Answer: Language barrier

  1. Allan and Rebecca Poe are an elderly couple who visit the clinic twice a month for Rebecca’s diabetes. Rebecca is blind in one eye and cannot read easily. Allan has vision problems as well, so the staff must read to them any documents they are required to sign to ensure that they understand the information.

Answer: Physical impairment

  1. Tommy Lightman approached the office manager because he was concerned about the manner in which Sarah spoke to him in the office. He expressed that Sarah was quite short with him last Tuesday and seemed very distracted as she talked with him in the examination room before the physician came in to treat him. He also said that the physician seemed to spend less time with him that day than usual. Tommy was concerned that he was not wanted in the clinic and wanted to have his records sent to another physician. The office manager checks the appointment book and realizes that Tommy was in the office last Tuesday at 11 o’clock, which was the exact time another patient was being transported to the hospital because of heart failure.

Answer: Perception

  1. Teresa has a difficult time dealing with Orlando Guiterrez. He comes for appointments twice a month and is trying desperately to lose weight. He currently weighs 435 pounds. He is a pleasant person, but Teresa has been raised to believe that those who are overweight are lazy individuals. She tries to avoid caring for him when he visits the clinic.

Answer: Prejudice

Part IV: Dealing with Barriers to Communication

  1. How can Cylinda develop a positive working relationship with Bruce?

Answers will vary. The student may answer that Cylinda should exercise patience with Bruce, just as she would do with trying patients. She should not make sarcastic remarks or complaints as Bruce is doing. Cylinda should set an example and be optimistic about getting along with Bruce.

  1. What can Aretha do to improve communication with Rahima?

Answers will vary. The student may answer that Aretha could attempt to find an interpreter through organizations that are formed to support Rahima’s nationality. Often, civic and church groups are happy to help with interpretive services.

  1. How can the medical assistant make Rebecca Poe feel more comfortable with her disability in the physician’s office?

Answers will vary. The student may answer that the office could choose a cheerful employee to help them with the paperwork. The Poe’s need to feel comfortable with the office staff in spite of the disability.

  1. What can Sarah and the office manager do to change Tommy’s perception about the incident that happened during his last office visit?

Answers will vary. The student may answer that the office manager could take Tommy into a private area and explain that an emergency was in progress when Tommy was in the clinic. However, the office manager should also probe further and find out if this was an isolated event or if Tommy has experienced other incidents that led to him feeling alienated at the physician’s office. No information about the identity of the ill patient should be revealed.

  1. What does Teresa need to do personally to help herself deal with patients she doesn’t care for who visit the clinic?

Answers will vary. The student may answer that Teresa can make a point to care for these patients, and to plan in advance a topic of conversation, in hopes that some common ground can be determined. By finding a similarity with the patient, Teresa has a way to converse and get to know the patient better. Eventually, Teresa may find that she enjoys the relationship with patients that she once found difficult.

Part V: Communication During Difficult Times

  1. Joanna Taylor has just been brought to the physician’s office after learning that her 16-year-old son was killed in a car accident. She is not responding to questions.

Answer: Shock, grief

  1. Lafonda Williams has come to the physician’s office because of injuries she sustained when her estranged husband assaulted her.

Answer: Anger

  1. Jackson Holland is seeing the physician today for antidepressants because of work-related stress as well as difficulty dealing with the death of his elderly mother.

Answer: Grief

  1. James Ackard comes to the physician’s office for treatment of a work-related injury.

Answer: Anger

Part VI: Death and Dying

  1. Denial

  2. Bargaining

  3. Anger

  4. Depression

  5. Acceptance

Part VII: Resolving Conflict

  1. List three ways to resolve conflict.

Answers may include:

  1. Expect conflict.

  2. Recognize that conflict can be a healthy process.

  3. Accept that others have different opinions.

  4. Listen to others.

  5. Never attack others with different opinions.

  6. Do not insist on being right all the time.

  7. Avoid judgment or blame.

  8. Deal with conflicts quickly.

  1. How would the medical assistant professionally resolve a conflict with a co-worker?

Answer: Student answers will vary but should include points such as talking, listening, dealing with the conflict quickly, and discussing it with a supervisor if it cannot be resolved.

  1. How would the medical assistant professionally resolve a conflict with a supervisor?

Answer: Student answers will vary, but should include statements such as talking, listening, understanding rules of the office, dealing with the conflict quickly, and accepting the supervisor’s decisions.

Part VIII: Boundaries

  1. Define self-boundaries.

Answer: Self-boundaries are a sort of personal rule book as to what the person will and will not do on the job or things that he or she will and will not accept.

  1. List the four steps of setting boundaries at work.


    1. Know how you expect to be treated.

    2. Don’t offer explanations for boundaries.

    3. Be respectful, thoughtful, and responsible when setting boundaries.

    4. Respect others’ boundaries.

Part IX: Communicating with People of Other Cultures

      1. If a non-English-speaking patient comes to the office without an interpreter, what should the medical assistant do?

Answer: The students’ answers will vary but should include encouraging the patient to bring an interpreter, attempting to local an interpreter, and interpreting through children or others at the clinic who came with the patient.

      1. How can the medical assistant put a patient at ease who seems nervous about an office visit or a procedure?

Answers will vary.

      1. Why should the medical assistant avoid the phrase “I know how you feel”?

Answer: The medical assistant cannot truly know how another person feels in a specific situation, and many patients become defensive and withdraw when they hear this phrase.

Part X: Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Draw and label the Hierarchy of Needs as shown in Figure 5-7 in the text. Note: The students’ drawings should resemble Figure 5-7 in the text.

Part XI: The Process of Communication

Draw and label the transactional communication model as shown in Figure 5-4 in the text.

Note: The students’ drawings should resemble Figure 5-4 in the text.


Read the case study and answer the questions that follow.

Janet has tried for months to reach Mr. Robinson, a cancer patient who comes to the clinic every 3 weeks. He does not have any family in the local area and feels that no one is interested in him or the problems he faces. He is estranged from both of his daughters, whom he has told to stay out of his life. They have not seen or spoken to him in over 10 years. Each visit, Mr. Robinson complains about how worthless his family is and how they have all deserted him in his time of need. However, Janet knows from reviewing the chart that Mr. Robinson was insistent that his daughters stay out of his life.

How involved should Janet get in this patient’s life?

How can she deal with Mr. Robinson’s attitude during his office visits?

Does Janet or the physician have the right to contact the daughters and discuss Mr. Robinson’s condition with them?

Student answers will vary.


Solicit 10 volunteers to come to the classroom and role-play patients and co-workers. Develop several personalities by writing a synopsis of the chief complaints and general personality traits. Allow each student to experience each “patient” or “co-worker” and react to them using professional interpersonal behavior and good human relations skills. Discuss the activity in class, and talk about what this role-play activity can teach medical assisting students.

Student answers will vary.

The Administrative Medical Assistant

Copyright © 2011, 2007, 2004 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Young

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