Agenda Setting

Agenda setting helps to enhance patient-educator relationships by respecting the time and expectations of both educators and patients. Please review the information below in order to better manage topics and issues covered in client appointments. An added bonus, is that these skills assist in time management.

1. What Effective Agenda Setting Does

  • Helps you and your client focus on priorities
  • Respects both your clients expectations as well as your own
  • Helps with time management

2. Components and a sample script

 An agenda includes the following:

  • Your name and position
  • Length of the appointment
  • General purpose of the visit
  • Educator agenda items
  • Client agenda items
  • Plans for how to address items if time runs out
  • Asking "How do you feel about that?"

Considerations:

  • An agenda is both verbal and written.
  • It requires re-negotiation throughout the appointment, as needed.
Sample Agenda Script:
"Hi I'm Brittany, one of the dietitians. *We'll be together for about 45 minutes today, if that suits you... (client comments)
Today is a "get to know you" session where I ask a number of questions about your health and diabetes to find out how we can help you. I also want to learn what you want to talk about. Then we'll make a plan for how to address everything - for example you can have more appointments, phone calls, handouts, online education or in-person classes. How does that sound?...(client comments)"
What would you like to put on the agenda to discuss?

3. The agenda is a shared responsibility

Negotiate and triage priorities on the agenda. It’s important to recognize that both you and the client have a responsibility to set and re-negotiate the agenda during the visit. Try the following if there are too many agenda items to address during the visit, or if time is running short:

  • “You’ve said that ____client issue_ is your priority today. However, I notice that __ clinician priority_, and I’m concerned for you. Would you agree to discussing that first”?

  • "You've said that ____client issue 1   is your  prioritity today. However, I notice you are also interested in _client issue 2 and 3 .  I want to make the best use of your time. Which would you like to discuss today and which would you like us to set aside for another day? I might be able to give you some handouts on one of them in the meantime."

  • “If time runs short, I’ll give you some information on__client issue_ either with a handout, online education website, class or I’ll refer you to an appropriate resource. Of course, we can also book another appointment soon, just to discuss your topic.”

4. If the appointment gets off track

Try one of the following:

  • "Would you like to add "B" to the agenda for later, so we don't run out of time for "A"?
  • "Would you like to talk about that now instead of your original agenda item?"
  • "I can give you handouts or schedule more time on another day for your original agenda item if you'd like to talk about this new item instead."

Meeting priorities may mean:

  • Do it:  Address the issue today
  • Defer it: Book time another time
  • Refer it: Refer to another resource (handouit, website, person, class, service...)

5. Resources