How you act and treat patients and their loved ones can impact your success as a healthcare provider and make or break your professional reputation. Providers with good bedside manners have a better rapport with patients and ultimately provide better care.
The opposite scenario is bad bedside manner: acting disengaged, too busy, insincere, distracted, angry, or anything that may distract from an overall positive patient experience.
It’s About Trust and Healing
How you approach patients and their families directly affects their overall experience and willingness to learn and care for themselves after they leave. The ultimate goal is to promote trust and healing.
Good bedside manner enables you to effectively communicate and avoid errors.
It all begins with active listening. People appreciate and deserve to be taken seriously – even the most challenging patients. If you truly listen, you can incorporate everything you hear into the proper course of treatment.
Never ignore patient or family concerns, no matter how trivial they may seem.
This makes people feel disconnected and could lead to bigger problems down the line.
Make a connection.
Listen first and then respond. Use words that everyone can understand, not medical jargon. This means recognizing the psychosocial, educational and cultural background of every person. Make eye contact. Introduce yourself to everyone you meet, and practice body language that is honest but doesn’t demonstrate haste.
Explain each step.
Never assume that people know what’s happening as you move through diagnosis and treatment. Explain things thoroughly, and ask permission before performing an exam or procedure. Repeat care instructions to patients and family members, so they know exactly what to do after they leave.
Don’t be distracted or upset around patients or families. Keep your personal feelings and problems out of patient interactions. Focus on each case and give it your full attention. If you act fidgety or rushed, it can make people feel as though you don’t care.
One of the best ways to deal with people who love to argue is to agree with them, even if you know you’re right. It stops them in their tracks. Then, test your theories. Run tests, talk to them and gauge their symptoms, but never engage them in an argument.
Sincere empathy overcomes many obstacles, as it requires you to see the other person’s point of view. By being empathetic, you greatly increase the odds of success and the happiness of your patient.
Even with the most difficult cases, be as detailed as possible. Be sure your search for a diagnosis is complete before making any assumptions. Cover all the bases and don’t rule out any possibilities. Take your time with each patient. There’s nothing worse than being dismissed too quickly, especially if you’ve been waiting for hours.
Of course, all healthcare pros are bound by HIPAA and other codes of conduct for patient confidentiality. But with all of today’s social media venues, it can be easy to forget and blast out information online. Keep all professional matters private. Remember: It’s still illegal to talk about cases, even if you think nobody is listening.
Need more tips on improving your bedside manner?
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