Being a great doctor and being perceived as a great doctor by your patients are two entirely different matters.

Every health-care school in the nation provides curriculum to train highly competent practitioners to serve the community. However, formal training in bedside manner, the way in which a doctor relates to the patient, is generally underdeveloped. While it may be impossible to change your personality, there is no reason basic interpersonal skills can’t be learned as they relate to managing patients.

The Seven Cs of a Great Doctor:

  1. Competency
  2. Compassion
  3. Communication
  4. Confidence
  5. Character
  6. Class
  7. Comedy

Ironically, competence is the only trait of a great doctor not required for great bedside manner. As patients have almost no way of determining the medical proficiency of doctors, they usually assume their doctors are knowledgeable and competent. When patients heal, that becomes validation of competency. When they don’t get better, most patients still assume there are medical reasons beyond the control of their doctor. It is, therefore, the remaining six characteristics that patients use to judge their doctors.

The Six Cs of Great Bedside Manner:

  1. Compassion
  2. Communication
  3. Confidence
  4. Character
  5. Class
  6. Comedy

It is the Six Cs of Bedside Manner that make patients love and cherish certain doctors. These are the qualities that constitute great bedside manner.

Compassion – The ability to show you truly care about the plight of the patient.

Communication – The ability of a doctor to make the time spent with the patient meaningful. Communication is a two-way street requiring the ability to listen as well as the ability to explain. When the doctor doesn’t understand the patient’s problems and the patient doesn’t understand the course of treatment, care is jeopardized and the opportunity to build patient loyalty is lost.

Confidence – The ability to convey to the patient that you are competent and have all the ability to solve their problems. Confidence is very much a communicative skill and goes hand in hand with how you communicate.

Character – Character is best defined as moral and ethical values. Character goes beyond the Hippocratic Oath. It is who you are as a person in society and it includes the values you learned from your parents and teachers.

Class – Often mistaken as “breeding,” class is actually the way a professional looks, acts and handles him- or herself when interacting with patients.

Comedy – The ability of a doctor to make patients smile or laugh in a setting that doesn’t engender much humor. Make your patients laugh and they will love you.

When patients visit the doctor, they are often scared, nervous or worried. Apprehension and fear can manifest in many ways. The patient might be verbal, quiet and withdrawn, belligerent, nervous, anxious, or outright hysterical. An amalgamation of these behaviors is common. All of these behaviors can be modified by any one of the Six Cs of Great Bedside Manner. Used in combination, you can make most any patient feel more comfortable.

By learning and utilizing the methods in this book, you will improve the way in which you relate to your patients and develop a great bedside manner. These skills will enable you to have enhanced medical outcomes, grow your practice, protect yourself from lawsuits, and gain your patients’ respect, love, and loyalty.

• Ronald (2018/05/02 00:51)
The importance of bedside manner is to build trust and engage the patient with the dental treatment. I have learned in these 2 years that how dental information is communicated makes all the difference and this applies from diagnosis to prognosis. Endodontic competency is extremely important. However, it is part of the process to explain the patients the pros and cons of the treatment, to show compassion, good disposition and call them at night after performing a procedure. In this way our patients can feel that their problems and dental needs are understood.
• Luke (2018/05/01 22:18)
What a great way to tie together my last two years of endodontic education relating to bedside manner. The six C\'s that are referred to in this passage must be emphasized because we as endodontists often get focused on the inside of the tooth (locating canals, getting to within 1mm of apex, etc.) and forget about the patient to which it\\\'s attached! If all we\'re worried about is the look of the final radiograph, our practice will eventually suffer because we\'re not relating to our patients. At the end of the day, the patients are what makes dentistry interesting and fulfilling so to have good bedside manner and the six C\'s is paramount. Thank you Dr Fleisher for the past two years! The time you\'ve spent with us surely made an impression and I\'m walking away from Einstein a more well rounded practitioner because of you.
• Julianna (2018/05/01 21:14)
We always hear those stories- pt comes to your office and has had bad dental work, yet the pt thinks his or her doctor is the best and the most wonderful. it teaches us that in addition to striving for competency, displaying compassion, confidence, good character, class good communication and comedy can all the more enhance our relationship with our patients.
• austin jang (2018/05/01 09:37)
Once my dental school professor said you will make more money by talking not dentistry. I figured it is all about bedside manner. you will avoid getting sued if you have great bedside manner.

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