If you believe that coping with some of the people we deal with in emergency medicine is difficult or impossible, you’re not alone. We all feel this way from time to time. We all work in stressful environments where it may feel as though we have too little time for effective patient communication, patient centered care and patient satisfaction. You and your patients may often have mismatched views of what’s important. You may have a specific medical agenda and they might have a very different agenda.
Then there’s the difficult patient – we all know who these people are – the hostile aggressive patient, the demanding patient, the know-it-all, the excessively anxious patient, and the incessant complainer, among others. If we don’t know how to handle these patients appropriately, they may receive suboptimal care, grind patient flow to a halt, and delay care of other patients. And of course, if the staff has to deal with a multitude of these patients on a given shift, there’s a sort of swarm-based escalation in frustration and sometimes, unfortunately, a total breakdown of effective care. These frustrations don’t only come out when we’re presented with multiple sequential difficult patients, but for some of us, the more we practice, the more we become desensitized to the needs of all of our patients and their families and, we run the risk of destroying the doctor-patient relationship, as well as making most of our patient interactions frustrating, unsatisfying, – even detrimental to our health and the outcomes of our patients.
How you communicate in the ED can improve patient outcomes and enhance job satisfaction, yet there is little education on patient centered care for EM practitioners. After listening to this episode, it is my hope that what you learn from the literature and from expert opinion,and then apply to the way you communicate with your patients, will effectively make you a happier health care professional.
Dr.Walter Himmel, Dr. Jean Pierre Champagne and RN Ann Shook guide us in this round table discussion on effective patient communication, patient centered care and patient satisfaction – this has evolved my practice into what I perceive as a higher level of personal satisfaction as well as patient care….I hope it will do the same for you.
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