Clinicians of all kinds have a tough job on their hands. This is known. However, it can sometimes be hard to prepare for issues that we have little training in. For example, settling a fearful or difficult patient who may be rightfully worried about what is happening to them, or how they should react. This can go double when talking to people from different cultural backgrounds, different ages, or different levels of wakefulness.
For example, it can be hard to interface with someone who does not speak the same language, but there are universal elements in effect that work, such as speaking to them directly, being respectful and using a careful tone. Settling a patient in your practice is an important thing, whether needing to break bad news, using a better and yet somewhat new and unfamiliar product such as a basal cell carcinoma wound closure device.
While we have zero suspicion that you are anything but a complete professional when it comes to your healthcare applications, absolutely no one on this Earth can be an expert in social interfacing, especially in the stressful and often immediate circumstances surrounding patient care.
Let us consider some advice to this end:
Address Them Respectfully
Using their first name is often something that can help them form a sense of kinship and trust with you, but it’s important to ask permission to do this. Looking them in the eye, addressing them respectfully and directing them gently can help them feel like they have an anchored point of contact in an otherwise difficult environment. It’s also important to consider your tone of voice, not as if you are a teacher patronizing but a professional trying to guide. You’d be surprised just how much of a difference this can make.
Do Not Make Light, Do Not Make Heavy
Being clear and consistent about what your patient should expect is important. If you are about to apply a procedure that could cause them pain or discomfort, tell them to expect this but do not exaggerate or under-explain it. Be clear, and consistent in your phrasing. Ensure that they understand everything you are doing and for what purpose you are doing it. When you have an authoritative tone over this you become much easier to trust, and this can help a patient feel more acclimated to you and trust this is the right way forward.
Retain Professional Conduct
Unfortunately, some unsettled patients can go too far and are sometimes too familiar or hostile with you. It’s your right to refuse treatment to anyone who might cause you harm, and so staying completely transparent about how you are to be treated and being as clinical as possible despite your empathy can help you seem as you should be, a complete professional. This can help both strategies, as in your friendly approach and impartial, careful handling merge into one, and it also helps you stay considered in your work.
With this advice, you’re sure to settle said patient in your practice.