When it comes to patient care, perhaps one of the most important skills you can have – aside from your particular profession’s clinical skills – is a great bedside manner.

Why? Because the better your bedside manner, the more your patients will trust you. The more they trust you, the more they’ll open up to you and discuss what’s ailing them. They’ll also be more likely to trust you and therefore more apt to follow your directions regarding their prescriptions, treatment and self care.

In other words, the better your bedside manner, the better care you’ll provide your patient and the better self-care your patient will give to herself, thus increasing the chance of a positive treatment outcome.

How can you improve your bedside manner? Read below for five tips.

  1. Take note of how much attention you pay to your patients. Are you somewhat distracted when speaking to or interacting with them? If so, work to give them your full attention. If you need to fill out a form, or take a phone call, etc., it’s better to postpone that task until after meeting with the patient or, if that’s not possible, ask the patient to wait a moment until you finish this critical task (and it should be critical if it means you need to interrupt a meeting with a patient!).
  2. Maintain eye contact. Are you looking “beyond” the patient when speaking to him or her or are your eyes focused entirely on the patient, especially when the patient is talking? Are you facing the patient fully, or standing sideways? Are you squatting when talking to someone who is sitting (particularly those who use wheelchairs), and are you sitting by the bed when speaking with a patient lying in one?
  3. Be sensitive to a patient’s privacy. Privacy is important to patients; can you improve how much privacy you provide patients when speaking with them (especially when speaking about very personal matters)?
  4. Use the patient’s name frequently. (Check before using a patient’s first name; some people may prefer that you use the honorific – Mr., Mrs., Ms., Miss, Dr., etc.). Using the person’s name connotes respect and caring. It shows that you think of the person as an individual, not just as a patient.
  5. Be careful in your use of medical jargon. You and your colleagues probably can talk a mile a minute using terms with which you’re very familiar but your patients could become lost. Talking in jargon also connotes disrespect: it’s as if you’re telling your patient that she isn’t there, that the patient doesn’t deserve to understand – or hasn’t the capacity to understand – her diagnosis, prognosis and the treatment you plan to provide her. Speaking in a way your patient can understand will go a long way in making a real and important connection with her, making her feel more secure in your abilities, how much you care about her progress and whether she can trust you with her questions and concerns.

If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to work as a healthcare traveler, if you’re an experienced RN, pharmacist, OT, PT, speech therapist, or other allied healthcare professional, contact the recruiters at MedPro Healthcare Staffing. We look forward to talking to you more about this exciting career opportunity.

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