“Hello, what seems to be the problem?” That’s how many visits begin in the doctor’s office, emergency room, or other healthcare setting, but what happens when the patient begins to talk about the problem? Sometimes, the patient’s fear is paralyzing; in other cases, the patient may give a partial list of symptoms or be very vague about what’s wrong.
In any case, the patient’s medical concerns may turn into the healthcare provider’s headache. For some healthcare employees, this is the perfect opportunity to complain – about the patient, the lack of a diagnosis, and even the profession in general. The alternative: solve the problem. Diagnosing the condition makes the situation better for the patient and everyone else involved.
Treat patients as human
In Treating the Patient, Not Just the Disease, Rupesh J. Parikh, MD, writes about a young man he encountered when he was beginning his cancer training. Despite repeated attempts to engage the patient in conversation about his condition, Dr. Parikh continued to receive one-word answers. When a new attending chatted with the patient about non-medical matters, the young man spoke freely. Medical settings can be overwhelming for many people, but when patients are treated as human beings, they’ll often relax. That can help them be less nervous about explaining symptoms and divulging important details.
Treat patients as individuals
Stewart Segal, MD, on KevinMD.com writes that there is no such thing as an “average” patient. Each person is an individual, and that means if three people have the same illness, each one may have a different experience of that illness. Segal writes, “I know the initial diagnosis I make may be wrong or that the treatment may be inadequate.” This is an important reminder because the treatment that worked perfectly for Mr. B. may not help Mrs. C. at all.
Keep an open mind
As the patient presents information, a preliminary diagnosis may come to mind, but when that happens, healthcare providers may miss other important clues. That’s why it’s essential to wait until the patient has shared all of the necessary information. There’s another reason that it’s important to keep an open mind: as in the case of lupus, the symptoms may be “varied and seemingly unrelated.” As a result, “a diagnosis can be long in coming, which can be extremely frustrating for both the patient and physician alike.”
Providing the best possible care
At any given time, there may be numerous medical personnel involved in caring for a patient. Some may be permanent staff, while others may be temporary employees, contingent staff, or contract staff. When some members of the team focus on complaining rather than solving problems for the good of the patient, care inevitably suffers. Problem solvers focus on providing the best possible care for the patients. At 365 Healthcare Staffing Services, we staff a number of healthcare fields, and we are committed to empowering every individual to be a problem solver. Contact us today!