Remember “Patch Adams,” the semi-biographical movie about doctor who almost singlehandedly spearheaded the concept of a good bedside manner? Both the movie and real-life Hunter “Patch” Adams encouraged health care professionals to be more compassionate and connected to patients. The idea was that a kinder, happier relationship would lead to improved physical and emotional health.
Many medical schools now put an emphasis on having a good bedside manner. There is coursework on interpersonal communication and students are sometimes assigned to mentors who best display those skills.
How to improve patient satisfaction with healthcare promotional items
A good bedside manner promotes trust and mutual respect, which leads to happier patients. But teaching someone to have good interpersonal skills can be a challenge. For those who need a little help, here are four tips:
- Encourage listening: On average, people only remember 17 percent to 25 percent of what they hear. Listening with intention is a simple way to engage a patient and gain trust. When sharing symptoms or concerns, patients may not be very forthcoming out of fear or embarrassment. When a healthcare professional repeats back what a patient says, it encourages better listening. It also shows the patient that he or she has been heard. Provide contact information on a Business Card Magnet or Telephone Magnet Memo Clip to reinforce a commitment to actively listening to patients.
- Identify negative body language: As much as 93 percent of communication is expressed through facial expressions, tone of voice and body language. Remind care providers to smile, maintain eye contact and to pull up a chair instead of towering over a nervous patient in a paper gown. A little humour will also go a long way toward easing tension. Try an Apple Stress Reliever to put a smile on a patient’s face. After all, an apple a day keeps the doctor away!
- Focus on focus: The best care providers are often very busy, yet every patient needs their undivided attention. It’s especially important to be attentive when delivering unpleasant news. After all, patients may be struggling with their own focus after a diagnosis. Giveaways like a journal or notebook set help providers and patients focus and encourage accurate and caring communication.
- Show compassion: A little empathy—considering a situation from the patient’s point of view—can help in the recovery process. Hospitalized patients of all ages will remember a compassionate and comforting caregiver who provided a teddy bear, or an exceptionally soft Micro Mink Blanket at a pre- or post-op visit.
Helping your healthcare providers improve their interpersonal communication skills will lead to patient satisfaction and a good bedside manner becoming part of your brand.