Nurses, physician assistants, doctors, and other healthcare workers have an important role to play in helping patients improve their health and well-being or manage medical conditions. The patient relationship these healthcare workers have is an essential part of ensuring quality care. Finding ways to connect with patients more effectively can help improve this relationship and lead to a better patient experience.
Why Creating a Patient Connection Is Important
Healthcare providers perform functional tasks, such as treating acute illnesses and injuries or diagnosing medical conditions. While these practical tasks are important, the patient experience goes beyond them. Patients need to be able to trust healthcare providers and understand the information they receive about medical conditions, injuries, medications, and other health issues. Knowing how to connect with patients is a must for healthcare providers who want to make sure they are offering high-quality, compassionate care.
10 Ways to Connect with Your Patients
How can you make sure that you are connecting with your patients? The following tips can help you communicate better with your patients while also building a stronger relationship with them based on empathy, trust, and quality communication.
1. Be Empathetic
When communicating with patients, focusing on the human connection is the key to forming a good relationship. This involves having empathy, which means being able to understand what your patients are feeling. Expressing empathy while talking to your patients shows that you share their feelings and understand them emotionally. This can help patients feel more comfortable discussing what they are experiencing, whether it is a reaction to receiving a serious diagnosis or disappointment when a treatment approach is not working.
2. Be Present – Make Eye Contact
Connecting better with patients involves being present. Otherwise, your patients might feel as though you are not fully paying attention to their concerns. When speaking with your patients, make eye contact. Looking your patients in the eye while communicating helps them know you are giving them your undivided attention. No matter how busy your day is or how many other issues are on your mind, you should aim to stay present throughout your visit with each patient.
Actively listening is a skill that healthcare providers need in order to connect with patients. As your patients talk to you about what their symptoms are or what their concerns are regarding a medical problem or condition, you should listen carefully. Repeating what they have said is one way to let them know you are hearing their concerns or paying attention to the symptoms they are discussing. Active listening can take time to master, but it is important to do so as a healthcare worker.
4. Establish Rapport
Establishing a rapport with patients means building a strong connection with them, which can improve your patient relationship. In addition to showing empathy and actively listening to your patients, you can establish a rapport in other ways. Introduce yourself when you meet patients for the first time and make an effort to get to know them. You might ask them about what kinds of hobbies they enjoy or talk about a recent vacation they went on. This can make it easier for them to connect with you during their appointments.
5. Ask Questions to Dig Deeper
Patients might not find it easy to talk about medical issues they are having or unusual symptoms they are experiencing. Asking questions can help you dig deeper and learn more about how they are feeling, so that you can provide a more accurate diagnosis or treatment plan. For example, you might ask for more details when a patient complains about headaches, such as how often they experience them, or which part of their head is affected.
6. Build Trust
Patients need to be able to trust their healthcare providers. When there is no trust in the patient-provider relationship, patients might not be as open about symptoms they are having, their medical history, or other concerns. It takes time to build trust, but healthcare workers can encourage this to happen through good communication, empathy, and compassion. Being honest and open with your patients also helps you build trust with them.
7. Do Not Rush
Although the amount of time healthcare providers spend with patients is usually brief, avoid rushing through these visits. When patients feel that healthcare workers are rushing, this can make them nervous and prevent them from discussing medical concerns they might have. They might also be hesitant to ask questions about something they do not understand, such as how to take a certain medication or what to do about an injury.
8. Be Intentional
Being intentional involves a commitment to providing patients with quality care. During each visit with patients, your intention should be aimed at helping them recover from an illness or injury, manage a chronic condition, or improve their health and well-being as needed. Your thoughts, behaviors, and actions should all be focused on providing your patients with the best care possible.
9. Be Authentic
Improving the connection between healthcare providers and patients involves being authentic. As a healthcare worker, make sure to explain technical language or medical jargon your patients are unlikely to be familiar with, and if possible, try to communicate with them in plain language they can easily understand. Being authentic can help your patients feel much more comfortable talking to you during their visits, especially when it comes to asking questions or discussing concerns about medical issues.
10. Practice Conscious Communication
When communicating with your patients, you should do so clearly and with a high amount of compassion. Conscious communication offers an effective way to accomplish this, which can help you build a better connection with your patients. Think carefully about what you want to say and how to say it to your patients.
If you are interested in a healthcare career, please contact Post University for more information. We offer undergraduate and graduate nursing degree programs to provide you with the education and training to seek a career in the healthcare field. If you are looking to advance your healthcare career, we can assist you with finding the right degree program to fit your situation and goals.
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