Starting off on the right foot with every patient: physician coaching to help you make the best first impression!

Patients (as do all of us) respond best to physicians who are happy doing what they do, and happy to be seeing them. Unfortunately, all too often we are pressured, worried about something that just happened or might happen, and preoccupied as we rush through our day. We enter a room with a patient waiting inside and THEN we glance at the chart. This gives our patient the impression that we are scattered, unprepared, way too busy to really pay attention to them and that they are not as important to us as they want to feel.

So, instead of that usual way of doing things, try this:

Before you knock on the door, take a deep breath (or two), make sure that you know the patient’s name AND how to pronounce it (you can write it phonetically on the chart if it is unusual, or simply ask the patient if it’s their first visit), and consider that you are about to make a difference in the life of a fellow human being who has come to you for help. (How fulfilling does that feel?)

After knocking and waiting for an invitation to enter, smile and make eye contact as you walk into the room and greet your patient. With this simple practice, you will begin your relationship or your time together in the very best way. You will be telling your patient that you are confident, approachable, and ready to take care of their concerns.

What a great first impression.

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About Helane Fronek

Over the past 28 years I have had a fascinating and fulfilling career in medicine, initially practicing as a general internist and then as a procedural specialist, caring for patients with vein disorders. As Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine at UC- San Diego School of Medicine, I’m thrilled to be teaching medical students crucial communication skills along with many other aspects involved in the practice of medicine.
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