Whether you’re new to the healthcare game, or you’re a seasoned veteran, you’ve probably got some room for improvment. From continuing education, to honing classic skills, health care is all about moving forward and getting better. Patient relations is an important area that you can continually improve in. We all want to make a difference, and we can do that, one patient at a time.
Make it a Team Effort
When stress is running high and answers are running low, it can sometimes feel like patients and healthcare providers are on opposite ends of a battle. Almost all conflict and dissatisfaction can be avoided when we treat patients like they are part of their own healthcare team. Include them in decision making, educate them about options, and take the time to make sure they’re on the same page as you each step of the way. The extra time you invest will pay off in the form of a calmer, happier patient.
Treat Humans Like Humans
When caring for patients is part of your day-to-day job, it can begin to feel like a checklist that you need to complete. When you lose the human factor in health care, you lose your connection with patients, and things head down hill. Strive to remember that the people you’re dealing with are someone’s mom, dad, or child, and that they have individual concerns and needs. Even a simple smile and a handshake can go a long way to make someone feel less like a number and more like the valuable person they are.
Recognize and Ease Fears
The stress, frustration, and anger that patients sometimes show are almost always based on the fear they are feeling because they are unwell. When you can learn to recognize when a patient is feeling afraid, you can diffuse these other emotions by offering them the information and comfort they need. Most people just want to feel like someone is looking out for them when things are out of control and that person can be you.
The single most important thing you can do as a healthcare provider to boost the confidence and morale of patients is to listen attentively to what they’re saying to you, and answer them appropriately. On a busy day, it’s easy to tune a patient out as they talk so you can get their paperwork filled out. Many times we answer their concerns with remarks that are meant to comfort them, but that actually downgrade their fears and come across as not being interested. Taking even two extra minutes to listen attentively to a patient and then respond to them as an individual will greatly enhance their healthcare experience.