BECAUSE PATIENTS JUDGE YOUR SKILLS BY YOUR BEDSIDE MANNER
Psychiatrist to nurse: “Just say we’re very busy, don’t keep saying, ‘It’s a madhouse.’”
While in the beginning of these posts, competency was not defined as a critical component of bedside manner; it is the essence of being a truly great provider. Everyone in the health-care industry should strive to be the most competent provider around.
Creed of Competency: It is the duty of all health-care providers to be the best that they can be, to limit practice to areas of expertise and competency, and to seek quality continuing education to make sure that they remain at the leading edge of the science and art of practice. It is the obligation of every practitioner to know when to refer patients for specialty care.
Competency should be a matter of fact in all endeavors. When you fly, you expect the pilot and crew to be highly competent. Patients expect the same from their doctors. The duty of the examining and licensing boards is to make sure doctors are competent and remain competent throughout their years of practice. Unfortunately, competency is not always guaranteed. While states have made a good attempt at maintaining competency by requiring continuing education, very little is done to police the profession. As a result, there are incompetent practitioners.
Even with the lack of guaranteed competency that we know exists, the public still maintains the belief that doctors are competent. Ironically, every patient likes to believe that not only are their doctors competent, but that they are the best. Fortunately, most times they are at least correct on the former assumption.
I have known several incompetent practitioners cherished by their patients. I have seen waiting rooms filled to capacity with wait times of, literally, hours. If you told the patients that there’s a doctor next door who could see them immediately, not one of them would leave. What these doctors lacked in competency they made up in bedside manner. That’s loyalty! But that is not the type of practitioner you want to be.
Bedside manner is an amalgamation of many factors. It is not just a great personality, a talent for humor, or an abundance of compassion. It is all those qualities and many more. It can be learned and practiced to make each and every health-care provider more likeable and successful. Just being a good healer is not enough. Bedside manner addresses the psychological aspects of patient care. In a fast-paced, impersonal world, the psyche needs healing just as much as the body.
By recognizing the importance of becoming a complete practitioner, you will make it a point to learn the techniques described and become aware of all your patients’ needs, and what they require and seek out.
Everyone should make an effort to sharpen their interpersonal skills as much as they should stay at the forefront of their field of patient care. Both qualities make the best doctors.