Tips For Improving Your Bedside Manner

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Published: 10 Mar 2016      

As a medical professional, you know that your job entails much more than delivering your medical knowledge to a patient and then providing them with the treatment they need. You will have to understand that many of the patients that visit you will be nervous about having a medical procedure carried out and will look to their doctor for support. As such, you need to develop a strong bedside manner to support these patients. These tips will help you do just that.

Strong Communication

You need to realise that, in the vast majority of cases, the patient that you are speaking to will not recognise much of the medical terminology that you use to describe their ailment or the treatment plan that you are going to put in place for them. As such, you need to make an effort to explain everything that may confuse a patient in words that they will understand, rather than speaking to them as though they are a fellow medical professional with all of the years of training that goes along with that.

Get To Know Them

While you don’t need to create an intensely personal bond with your patients, it helps to get to know them a little bit so that you can establish some common ground that gives you something else to talk about beyond the patient’s medical condition. This will help you the patient see you as a person, while also assuring them that you see them as more than just their condition, fostering trust in the relationship that makes it easier to provide quality care.

Maintain Focus

As a medical professional you will likely spend much of your days being pulled from pillar to post and expected to handle a wide variety of tasks throughout the course of the day. However, you must not show any sign of this when you are speaking to your patient, ensuring that you keep all of your focus on them. Avoid doing things like looking at your phone or checking another patient’s chart during your conversations, as this will make the patient feel as though you don’t care about their condition and may make them less trusting of you.

Always Listen

Never underestimate the simple power of actually listening to your patient when they speak to you. Not only does this demonstrate that you care about what they have to say, it also makes them feel as though they are more in control of a difficult situation, in addition to offering you the opportunity to spot smaller details that may prove vital when it comes time to provide treatment to the patient.

Ask Open Questions

It can often be difficult to get patients to speak about their condition, so it is important that you ask the right types of questions. Try to avoid those that have a yes or no answer, as the patient may not elect to provide further detail for their answer, plus it will be harder for you to determine whether or not the patient understands what they have been told.


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