10 Things to Remember When Interacting with Patients

Posted On: March 31, 2017
Interacting with Patients

Ever been to the doctor’s office or emergency room and felt frustrated? Maybe you had to wait for an unbelievable amount of time, maybe you felt ignored or slighted. It’s possible your health practitioner wasn’t following established protocol.  If you are interested in a career in the Medical Industry, here are 10 things to keep in mind when you interact with patients:

  1. Communicate – What will happen during a patient’s visit? Might there be an extended wait before seeing someone? The more you communicate with a patient, the more understanding they will be. Sometimes it’s not easy communicating with multiple patients during stressful times but it does pay dividends in the long and short term.
  2. Empathize – Patients are very likely to share with intimate details of their health concerns. It’s important to show kindness and empathy, even if the information is more than you might need to hear.
  3. Be Pleasant – A key practice when interacting with patients is a patient, calm demeanor. Medical offices can be particularly hectic, sometimes loud and even chaotic. A pleasant, professional demeanor is an easy way to diffuse frustration and anger.
  4. Discretion – Always be proactive in protecting patients’ privacy. Provide them with covering garments, always knock before entering an examination room. Discretion in a patient-health provider is not a nicety, it’s an expectation.
  5. Pay Attention to Body Language – Oftentimes, it will be the non-verbal cues you will get from a patient that tells you the most. A patient’s demeanor, eye contact, facial expressions and other nonverbal cues will provide a wealth of information in how you should interact with them.
  6. Gather Information – One of the primary jobs of any health care provider. The more information you can get from a patient, the more likely your team will arrive at the heart of the problem.  An inquisitive nature is crucial.
  7. Be Present – No matter how busy you are, you must give the patient the undivided attention he or she deserves. Patient-practitioner interaction rarely lasts more than a few minutes, it’s important to be fully engaged.
  8. Listen – Strong listening skills are an integral part of many different professions and health care is no exception. Solving a patient’s problem is impossible without fully understanding it.
  9. Slow Down – Patients who feel rushed are more likely to be upset or frustrated. Take your time, settle down don’t stress.
  10. Don’t Judge – Patients may be visiting because of an embarrassing problem or may feel shy about changing clothes, etc. Maintaining professionalism and refraining from judgement will help to put them at ease and lead to a more successful visit.

Interacting with patients can be complicated with lots of moving parts but also incredibly fulfilling.  Think you might have the right skills for a career in medicine? Check out the Career Certification Subscription at 360training.com. Not only can you learn a new career, you can earn college credits with the University of Phoenix too!


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