The expression “bedside manner” conjures up images of nurses and hospitals. But nowadays, it is used to describe all the interactions a patient has while receiving care. That’s every communication, from the first phone call to the “goodbye” at the end of the last dental visit. It extends beyond physicians and includes all support staff.
So what exactly is good bedside manner? Why does it matter? Doesn’t healing have more to do with receiving the right treatment?
To illustrate these questions, let’s take a look at Suzie and Paul. Suzie, a 65-year-old grandmother of 4, has suffered a fall and is receiving physical therapy. She loves her physical therapist who is kind and attentive. She enjoys the warm atmosphere created by the PT staff who take the time to listen to her. Although treatment is sometimes painful, she makes sure to go to all sessions three times a week. After all, she gets to show off pictures of her grandchildren to the receptionist, Sharon. Suzie’s injury is healing nicely.
Paul is also a senior and he gets physical therapy to recover from shoulder surgery. He doesn’t care for his physical therapist who is always in a rush and doesn’t listen to him describe his pain. Paul doesn’t like the staff either. They are always chatting among themselves and act annoyed when he has a question. Most of all, his exercises are painful, and even when he grunts in pain, nobody seems to care.
Paul needs to go to PT three times a week. In fact, he knows his shoulder could freeze without the proper rehabilitation. But, because he hates going, he only makes it twice a week. His recovery is taking longer. He’s starting to doubt that the therapy is even making a difference. He may decide to stop going altogether… after all, there’s a problem with his bill and nobody wants to hear about it.
Which one of these patients do you think will heal faster? Which one is more likely to return to their physical therapist in the future? Which one will recommend their clinic to a friend?
This is just one example showing that good bedside manner does matter. To understand why let’s connect the dots: positive interactions increase patient satisfaction. Good patient satisfaction increases compliance with treatment. Compliance with treatment affects patient outcomes.
Although nurses get some bedside manner training, most healthcare professionals do not. Are you a patient’s dream or a patient’s nightmare? Find out how your bedside manners measure up with our Bedside Manner Quiz.
Think appointment reminders have nothing to do with bedside manner? Think again! Consistent, accurate appointment reminders give your office a professional, state-of-the-art feel. Plus, they help patients get to their appointments! For more information try our demo.