Do you think your doctor has a good bedside manner?
Author: Kerri Bennett, DC
A bedside manner refers most often to the way a doctor interacts and communicates with patients. A doctor with a good bedside manner is a good communicator, while one without a good bedside manner may offend or may be overly abrupt with patients. A good bedside manner might include showing empathy, being open to communication, involving the patient in health decisions, and helping the patients feel at ease. A poor bedside manner can manifest as arrogance, failure to listen to a patient, abruptness, dismissal of a patient's fears, and rudeness.
People ask, "Why are there not as many doctors with a good bedside manner?" Well, there are reasons why this has happened. Those are usually related to the cost of care. Understandably, many doctors have learned shortcuts to ensure that they spend as little time with a patient as possible. That has resulted in frustration among patients and doctors. And, has also resulted in more medical errors.
Here are some tips that we can give to our patients to ensure that we as doctors have a good bedside manner:
1. Bring a list of questions to their appointments. Limit the questions to the top three or four. If they have more than that, have them bring in the others on their next visit.
2. Let patients know that they don’t have to always talk about health and pain. You can have friendly, benign, and short conversations like the weather, an upcoming holiday, local sports team, or about something going on in the news.
3. Be sure to take time for each patient and make sure they understand what is going on and what our plans are to help treat the problem.
4. Show patients that we care about them and their health. Show up to their kids’ football games, baseball games, plays, and any other event that may be important to your patients.
5. When patients have a birthday, surgery, anniversary, or maybe another child, send them a little card letting them know you are thinking about them.
I truly believe if a patient sees that you care about them and their wellbeing, then in return they will love to come see their doctor and also want others to experience the same thing. All of us need to make sure that we demonstrate a good bedside manner. This will help grow the practice and show our commitment to patient service.