Along with standard treatments and preventive health care measures, proper bedside manner is essential to patients' recovery and overall well-being. It's an integral part of physicians' and nurses' study programs, and they can implement it through skills like active listening and proper display of body language.
What Is Good Bedside Manner?
Good bedside manner is how medical professionals conduct themselves positively and helpfully around patients and their families. The interactions that medical professionals facilitate may include initial consultations and treatment administrations. A medical professional may also have to deliver life-altering diagnoses and talk to patients about the
options they have. Demonstrating a good bedside manner involves remaining professional, focused, attentive, and empathetic.
The Importance of a Good Bedside Manner
Some medical professionals may neglect proper bedside manner in favor of a perceived increase in efficiency or productivity. However, the importance of bedside manner is a concept with a long history. Good bedside manner is a concept that dates back to the era of Hippocrates, an important Greek physician who practiced in the Classical Greece era (1). Its importance continues into today's health care environment.
It Makes Patients More Comfortable
Patients may come into physicians' offices or hospitals with many emotions. They may be confused, fearful, or unsure of their condition. A medical professional who shows a good bedside manner can help a patient feel more comfortable. They may alleviate their fears and help them feel that they are under the proper care. Patients who have doctors and nurses with a good bedside manner are typically more likely to have higher levels of satisfaction and attain more optimal health outcomes (2).
It Encourages Transparency from Patients
When physicians and other medical professionals implement a good bedside manner, their patients may be more likely to trust them. This can cause patients to be completely transparent about their conditions. Medical professionals may be able to create more individualized treatment plans thanks to the greater level of detail they have about their patients' ailments, which can result in greater efficacy.
It Can Improve a Professional's Reputation
Having a good bedside manner can help a medical professional improve their reputation. Their patients may speak highly of their experiences with the medical office and refer other patients to it. Medical professionals can use a good bedside manner to develop long-lasting patient relationships, build valuable connections, and increase their medical knowledge. As a medical professional learns more and builds their reputation, they can continue to provide high-quality care to existing and new patients alike.
Examples of Implementing a Good Bedside Manner
Implementing a good bedside manner is a crucial skill that can take time to develop. Exploring some good bedside manner examples can help professionals understand how to apply it in real settings.
Make a Good First Impression
A medical professional can practice a good bedside manner by creating a good first impression with every patient. One of the easiest ways to make a good first impression is to address the patient by their last name, preceded by the proper form of address. Being formal can help a nurse or physician remain professional, though they can ask the patient what name they prefer to go by.
A medical professional can also make a good first impression by acknowledging others in the room. This may include shaking the hand of a patient's spouse or offering a high-five to a young child. Acknowledging the patient's support system can be helpful for establishing trust.
Speak Professionally and Use Proper Medical Terms
A health care provider can speak professionally and use proper medical terms when discussing a patient's condition. They can recognize that their patients likely don't have a medical background and do their best to explain complicated concepts in everyday language. A medical professional can also make an effort to treat the patient as their equal and not talk down to them.
Practice Nonverbal Cues
Showing proper nonverbal cues is an important element of a good bedside manner. A health care provider can maintain good eye contact and an attentive, upright posture to build trust and professionalism. The provider may also consider sitting down during an appointment when appropriate. This can help a patient see that a provider isn't rushed and has the time to listen to their needs and concerns.
Practice Redirecting a Conversation
Being personable is an important aspect of a good bedside manner. However, it's essential for a health care provider to lead a conversation and redirect it when necessary (3). Ensuring that the topic of conversation remains on the patient's health and recovery goals is an utmost pillar of professionalism.
Value Patients' Time
A medical professional can run behind if one of their patients' visits last longer than they initially expected. The professional can value patients' time and exhibit a good bedside manner by apologizing for the delay. They can also assure their patients that they have their undivided
attention for the duration of the appointment and that they're available to help however they can.
Engage in Active Listening It's important for medical professionals to be active listeners (4). They can listen to patients' concerns and record symptoms while remaining engaged. If a medical professional wants to take notes or refer to medical records, they can consider using a notepad and paper records. If they prefer to use a computer, they can set up their monitor and keyboard in a way that they can still face the patient. They can also make a conscious effort to not get distracted by what's on the screen.
If these elements of bedside manner appeal to you, you may be interested in training for a rewarding career in the medical field. Concorde offers various health care education programs that cover careers in nursing, dentistry, and patient care. Contact us today to learn more.