How Bedside Manner Can Affect Patient Satisfaction
With more and more ways for businesses to track their performance, medical professionals are taking notice of which employees best contribute to their patients having a positive experience in their offices. As a result, good bedside manner is a skill that can greatly increase employability for Medical Assistants (MA) and Patient Care Technicians (PCT). Patient satisfaction is important not only for small medical practices that depend on building relationships with their patients, but also for the patients themselves. Medical professionals that act positively towards their patients and follow best-practices for bedside manner often provide better care to patients. This results in patients being more comfortable with treatment, resulting in an increased likelihood that they will listen to instructions and correctly follow their treatment plan.
What Does Good Bedside Manner Look Like?
A good rule of thumb for medical assistants and patient care technicians is to give your patient your full attention at all times. Appearing listless or disinterested, especially when performing important medical tasks, can make patients feel unimportant or ignored in their time of need. Use of language can be important for helping patients feel heard as well. Informing patients of what tasks you’re performing, or plan to perform in reference to their case, is a great way to keep them engaged and dispel any idea that they are being ignored or made to wait.
Body language is a strong contributor to bedside manner that some medical professionals forget to consider. Having an open posture and smiling upon meeting a new patient is important for fostering trust in the new relationship. Take the time to maintain direct eye contact. This serves as an excellent way to assure the patient that you are not distracted, and care about any information they may have to offer. This might impact the patient’s likelihood to share important, but potentially embarrassing medical information.
Maintaining a Positive Attitude is Key
There is an underlying psychological element to providing good bedside manner. It’s important to remember that medical offices are professional environments, and it can be disconcerting for patients to see medical professionals exhibit signs of stress, boredom, or frustration. This might impact their perception of the quality of care they’re being provided and result in their choosing a different healthcare provider at the next opportunity available. Part of the job as an MA or PCT is presenting a positive attitude whenever possible. Jobs in the medical field can be stressful, but it’s important not to forget about your own wellbeing in the process of doing your job well. It’s always best to take the steps necessary to have positive feelings about the work you’re doing. Whether it takes relaxing with a good book after work, or talking to a close friend, it’s helpful to have a healthy relationship with the work-based stress that everyone has to experience.
As a healthcare professional, it’s important to foster empathy as well. Sincere empathy can help give you access to your patient’s point-of-view, which can make it easier to understand why some patients can be difficult cases. When patients come to a doctor’s office, they’ve often been suffering with pain, stress, or lack of sleep, all of which can negatively impact a person’s mood. Showing that you understand their situation can make a huge impact on how a patient acts and feels.
How to Improve Your Patient Experience
It only takes a few simple changes to drastically improve your patient experience:
- Remember body language and maintain eye contact to indicate you’re actively listening to the patient.
- Take the time to avoid medical jargon or choose to explain it. This helps patients feel comfortable with whatever treatment plan is coming around the bend.
- Greet and engage with family members. This can help build a relationship with the patient, as it’s always good to show respect to someone that a person cares about.
- Ask whether there are any questions you can answer. Some patients need a moment to gather their thoughts before they’re ready to request information.
If you’re interested in making the world a better place by helping others through stressful times, becoming a Medical Assistant or Patient Care Technician might be the perfect profession for you. At Woodruff Medical Training and Testing, we offer comprehensive courses in the medical field that include topics like bedside manner. If you’re curious about our class schedule, or whether you qualify for financial aid, contact us and we’ll answer any questions you might have about our medical programs.