How to gain a patient’s trust

Susanna Kahr

Establishing a healthy, honest connection with your patient has proven to be a valuable component in the healthcare industry. Not only does it enhance the overall medical experience, but it also improves patient autonomy. Unfortunately, however, building rapport with a patient is often challenging. Factors such as the patient’s age, gender, and personality are just a few elements that can influence a physician’s ability to build a trusting relationship with their patients. Luckily, there are still several techniques that can help you better your chances of obtaining a patient’s trust. Keep reading to find out!

1. Effectively communicate

For many people, paying a trip to the doctor is the last thing they want to do as it can be stressful and even a bit nerve-racking at times. Whether the patient’s apprehension is associated with a fear of the unknown or a medical condition like white-coat syndrome, their feelings of anxiety can quickly intensify when surrounded by a disheveled medical staff who are both inattentive and unwelcoming. As a healthcare professional, part of your job is to consistently set the tone for patients and visitors by communicating in a way that’s clear, calm, and concise. To do this, you need to keep in mind that the way you interact with your employees should not compare to the way you engage with a patient and their loved ones. For best practice, avoid using medical jargon when speaking to a patient or their family. Always make sure that you thoroughly explain the patient’s health status and the necessary steps recommended for healing. Finally, when you’re finished explaining, double-check to see if they have any additional questions or concerns and answer them accordingly. As a result, this will help to boost patient satisfaction and optimize work productivity.

“The main focus will always be providing quality care for patients and making sure that their individual needs are met; with that being said as an employee for this company I feel that the company is very good at balancing the needs of the patients with the needs of their employees.” – anonymous employer review at Ohians Home Health Care 

2. Express empathy and compassion

It’s essential to express empathy and compassion in a doctor-patient relationship because the power of kindness and human decency goes a long way to forming a bond and creating trust. Although this technique may seem obvious, it can sometimes be unintentionally overlooked by people who follow the same work routine every day. In healthcare, examining, diagnosing, and treating different health issues are usually a part of an average day. And while this may be considered a “norm” to you, it’s important to be mindful of the patient’s unique medical experience. Remember that what you might classify as a minor health concern, a patient might regard as a more severe  problem that’s sensitive to discuss. Men, for example, are typically more hesitant to speak about their erectile dysfunction with their doctor, even though ED is an extremely common health concern amongst most men over 40. For these reasons, you must take the time to listen without judgment and be considerate of what your patient is going through. In turn, this will encourage patients to be more confident in discussing any other concerns, expectations, thoughts they may have.

“We work together to provide the best care possible and also to relieve clients’ families of unneeded stresses and worries.” – anonymous employer review at Griswold Home Care

3. Be professional

No matter what type of industry you pursue, the level of professionalism you exploit will almost always have an impact on your career success and personal development. With the healthcare field specifically, however, professional etiquette in the workplace reaches new heights.  Demand for it relates to the requirement as a physician to provide people with high-quality care at every hour of the day. To ensure that you maintain your professional expectations, follow the 3-R’s of professionalism: reliability, responsibility, and respectability. Focus on conveying the 3-R’s in and out of the workplace by behaving in alignment with someone who possesses these traits. For instance, to exercise reliability, you might dedicate some of your time to privately sit down with a patient and talk about your role in their medical experience in a way that is understandable to them. It doesn’t matter which of the 3-R’s you choose to exercise, as long as you are regularly practicing each day, you’re bound to strengthen your reputation amongst employees, your local community, and above all, your patient.

“This is a great hospital to learn how to take care of the sickest patients.” – anonymous employer review at Research Medical Center


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