How often have you heard about, or even personally experienced a doctor whose bedside manners left a lot to be desired? While it is important for a doctor to be skilled in his or her job, it’s also important to display good bedside manners in order to keep a patient feeling a sense of satisfaction both during and after an appointment.
Even the most experienced doctors have been known to make insensitive remarks and also rush a patient out the door as quickly as possible. Fortunately, bedside manners are one of the many personal skills you can develop in medical school. We all know medical schools can provide plenty of knowledge and education, but did you know they also help students develop personal skills that can propel their careers in the healthcare industry? Here are five skills that you can develop in medical school:
1. Introduce Yourself
Sometimes, doctors don’t introduce themselves. Then there are others (and these tend to be the best relationships) who introduce themselves with just their name, leaving out the “Doctor”. Instead of saying, “Hello, I’m Dr. Dave Johnson”, they say, “Dave Johnson”, which can put a patient at greater ease. One Johns Hopkins research claimed that about 90% of patients could not name their doctor when they were in hospital.
2. Sitting Down With The Patient
Sitting down with a patient sends a message of respect to the patient as well as not being rushed. This makes the patient feel valued and important. It makes a patient feel that the doctor is willing to spend time with them and to listen to what they have to say.
3. Body Language
Try to make eye contact with the patient. Try never to make defensive postures like crossing your arms. When the patient is talking, try to listen instead of restlessly playing with a pen or stethoscope or even tapping your fingers on the table. This may display impatience and indifference to the patient. Try listening and nodding.
4. Show Empathy
A doctor must be aware of a patient’s reactions. When examining a patient, it might be a routine procedure for the doctor but for the patient, it could mean a life-changing event. A patient may ask questions as a result, and even though a doctor may have been asked this many times before, this will all be new to a patient who still might not have fully processed everything just yet. To give a nonchalant or abrupt answer can be hurtful. It’s natural for a patient to worry, so be able to empathize.
5. Offer Reassurance
Sometimes, it helps to put yourself in the patient’s shoes and offer reassurance and advice. Let a patient know that they are welcome to see you or perhaps even call you if you have further questions.
One of the worst things a doctor can do is to judge a patient and even reprimand them. You have no way of knowing what a patient is going through elsewhere in their life. Always remain courteous and professional. If your bedside manners need to be improved and you make the effort to do so, your reputation can only be enhanced, which would be good for your business.