In today’s world, a sense of connection between patient and doctor is often missing. This is due to many factors outside of the doctor’s control. People move around and insurance plans change. So the days of seeing the same patients for years are long gone. Office visits have become much shorter. So the conversations have become shorter. Many times the patient is a stranger and the visit feels awkward. This is where adding humor to your medical practice can help.
According to Psychology Today, laughter creates “a positive emotional climate and a sense of connection between two people”. When you add laughter to the office visit, you can improve the patient’s stress levels. Plus, you make yourself more approachable, more human. This means your patient might be less shy, ask more questions and receive better care. So how do you add laughter to your practice without going overboard? Here are some practical suggestions.
Atmosphere plays a big role in a medical practice. It sets the tone for the visit to come. Light-hearted artwork can start things off with a chuckle. It can reduce stress levels, even among your staff. Avoid divisive topics such as race, gender, politics or religion. Tip: funny animal pictures are always a win.
Sometimes the most stressful part of the appointment is the wait. Amusing videos can distract patients from their fears. Shows that are appropriate for all ages, like America’s Funniest Home Videos, are guaranteed to get at least a chuckle. Tip: Keep the volume down so as not to annoy your staff.
Whether it’s comics or funny short stories, patients enjoy reading humor. Plus, humorous publications are a good value because people like to read them over and over. Add tasteful joke books and comics to your waiting room tables. Tip: Know your audience. Many of today’s kids can’t relate to Charlie Brown.
Did you know that when patients are intimidated by a doctor their blood pressure goes up? It’s called white-coat syndrome. So why not ditch the white coat? Fun clothes can help a doctor seem more approachable. A full costume is not necessary. Think funny tie, t-shirt or socks. Tip: Don’t go overboard. Clown noses put kids at ease but can be creepy to adults.
For many patients, the stress starts at home—like worrying about an upcoming root canal. Lightening up your forms or appointment cards can make a visit seem like less of a big deal. Cartoon characters, hanging cats or funny quotes can work wonders. Tip: Remain tasteful! While patients appreciate a chuckle, nobody wants to get surgery from a clown.
Is Adding Humor to Your Medical Practice Necessary?
Well, it sure can be a plus. Although some appointments can’t be pleasant, adding some cheer can help improve the experience. Tossing in just a few fun things to your environment can transform your practice from intimidating to comfortable. If you notice some of your patients are not participating as much as you’d like them to, try some humor. You may even start smiling yourself!
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