Below are reminders for making every patient feel like they are your only patient:
- Establish Rapport—the first few seconds when you enter the examination room set the tone for the whole encounter. Remember the old saying, “You don’t get a second chance at first impressions?” Looking directly at your patient (not their chart or screen), smiling and greeting them in a friendly manner immediately sets them at ease and shows care and compassion.
- The Eyes Have It—making eye contact tells the patient you are present and listening. It enables you to see what your patient is feeling and respond appropriately with nods, smiles or other non-verbal cues that demonstrate empathy. It’s also important to be at eye level with your patient. If you’re above them it can be intimidating and if you sit lower than them, your patient may subconsciously perceive you as undecided or unsure of yourself.
- Listen, Listen, Listen—if you don’t already do it, start practicing blocking out all other thoughts when listening to a patient (or anyone for that matter). Really hearing what the patient is saying and acknowledging it will probably speed the diagnosis process, but more importantly, it will leave your patient feeling deeply satisfied with their interaction with you. The few extra seconds or minutes you invest will pay off, leaving you with happy patients that are happy to recommend you to others.
- Be a Good Translator—part of what makes you a great physician is that you have mastered so much about lower extremity conditions and are constantly updating yourself on the latest techniques and treatments. This is of great value to your patients, but you will reap even greater rewards if you are able to explain the diagnosis and treatment plan to them in easy to understand (yet professional) terms. Patient compliance with treatment dramatically increases when they have a complete understanding of what their podiatric problem is and why you are choosing a particular protocol to correct it.
At IPED part of our mission is enabling members at all stages of their careers from students to veteran practitioners to share information to improve their practices. To learn more about membership, contact us at: 978-296-7634.