The Most Important Aspects of Bedside Manner

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A good bedside manner is essential for healthcare professionals. Your patients should trust you—when they do, everyone has a better overall experience. Implement these most important aspects of bedside manner into the care you give, and improve your relationships with patients.

Honesty

Going to the doctor’s office is stressful enough, and some patients may worry they’ll need to read between the lines of what you say. Honesty and openness with your patients can result in them being more honest and open in return, which makes the entire process easier for both of you. Remain transparent when speaking with them, and never give false reassurances. While this might occasionally make you the bearer of bad news, discussing the issue clearly and honestly will ultimately make it easier for your patient to move onto the next step in their healing process.

Empathy

While diagnoses, symptoms, and procedures might be routine for you, they’re brand new to your patient, and it’s probably a little overwhelming. Expressing kindness and understanding toward your patient will help put them at ease. Your empathy lets them know you will take care of them, which means they’re far more likely to trust you and your treatment.

Communication

Good communication is easily one of the most important aspects of bedside manner. You want to keep several things in mind when speaking to your patient. In addition to honesty and transparency, make sure you use language the patient understands rather than complex medical terms. Your body language is also important—maintain good eye contact, and take the time to sit down with your patient, so they don’t feel like you want to leave.

Listening

Another important aspect of good communication is listening. Facing your patient, nodding along to what they say, and not interrupting them will show you really hear them. Throughout the conversation—and especially at the end—repeat information back to them to ensure everyone is on the same page.

Respect

Treat your patients the way you want to be treated: with respect. If a patient has a concern about anything—even if it seems routine or simple to you—take them seriously, and don’t judge them. Give them your time and attention, and they will know you have their best interests at heart. 

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