Ari Ginsberg, PT, DPT, MSIOP
On a recent LinkedIn post, a PT colleague mentioned that she was a foreign-trained therapist and that patients had a bias toward her because of her accent. The post topic was on patients’ biases and how sometimes there is nothing you can do to please a patient simply because they have a bias toward you. I have observed the same bias amongst other colleagues that I worked with when I was a home care therapist. In fact, observing patients’ biases toward my coworkers inspired me to develop my bedside manner for physical and occupational therapists CEU course, The Science of Bedside Manner and Patient Satisfaction. I knew that there was a way for foreign therapists to utilize psychology to overcome patient biases and maximize patient satisfaction.
The bias that my colleague was referring to is called the similar to me effect bias. People tend to have a greater affinity for those who are similar to themselves. This is probably due to evolution, because people have higher odds of survival if they can work in groups and trust others in the group. Most of us trust our family members and they look and are similar to us because of shared genetics. This concept is ingrained within our psyches and has unfortunately translated into a bias. Understanding psychology is useful in combatting the discrimination of the similar to me bias and enhancing bedside manner for physical and occupational therapists. There are many strategies to compensate for this bias or utilize the bias to create a stronger connection with patients.
Bedside Manner for Physical and Occupational Therapists is Learned
Often time, physical and occupational therapists are convinced that bedside manner is innate. However, it is my opinion based on my own experience and research is that bedside manner for physical and occupational therapists is a learned skill. For some people bedside manner skills are natural, but they are simply good at utilizing certain successful strategies. Those strategies can be conveyed to optimize bedside manner for physical and occupational therapists, so that patient outcomes are maximized.
To learn more check out: The Science of Bedside Manner and Patient Satisfaction. I look forward to hearing your feedback.
Tips for Bedside Manner for Physical and Occupational Therapists
Whether you’re still in school or just starting in medicine, developing a good bedside manner is crucial for your success as a therapist – and the health of your patients.
Developing Bedside Manner for physical and Occupational therapists is more than just looking professional and smiling at your patients. Though good bedside manner is often overlooked in favor of medical knowledge, training, and everything else that goes into being a doctor, it can have a significant impact on a patient’s health. A good doctor-patient relationship can make a significant difference in health outcomes.
A patient is less likely to open up about their health problems or give information about what they feel when a therapist is in a hurry, talks down to them, or exhibits other off-putting behaviors. As you can see, having a good bedside manner is essential for becoming a competent therapist.
Continue reading to find out what is needed to develop Bedside Manner for physical and Occupational therapists.
Strong communication is essential
The capacity of a therapist to communicate with a patient can make or break their Bedside Manner for physical and Occupational therapists. It assists them in developing rapport with patients and, more significantly, establishing trust. Perhaps the most crucial talent a physician can have is the capacity to communicate.
The capacity to communicate real concern and interest in a patient is an essential and inseparable component of the medical communications process. A patient engagement can be made or broken by having a good bedside manner, encouraging an honest discussion, or turning the patient off.
A good bedside manner prepares patients and therapists for a successful relationship. Some people are natural communicators, but anyone can learn.
First Impressions with patients are really important.
For therapists, first impressions are crucial. When dealing with a new patient, a therapist only has one chance to create a good impression. A few courteous behaviors might contribute to a positive first interaction. When meeting a patient for the first time, make sure you know their name and how to pronounce it correctly.
If you’re not sure how to pronounce something, ask the patient. Never address an adult by their first name unless the patient specifically requests it. Formality in inpatient encounters is a technique of demonstrating respect.
Speak professionally and accurately, but in a way, that the patient can understand
When you’re steeped in the medical profession every day, it’s easy to use these technical terms when speaking with patients. However, very few of your patients will have a medical background. You need to convey information in a manner that the patient can comprehend.
“Physician communication is most effective when a therapist speaks honestly, professionally, and confidently and discusses a patient’s condition and proposed treatment in language the patient can easily understand.
Be an Engaged listener and participant in the conversation.
When taking notes on a patient’s medical history or symptoms, it’s easy to become lost in the screen as you type. A therapist must remember to listen actively and face the patient while taking notes. Don’t hide behind your computer. It is the most important Bedside Manner for physical and Occupational therapists.
When you’re pressed for time, it’s all too easy to cut a patient off with questions. However, avoid disruptions at the start of the discussion. Allow the patient to express their feelings before delving into the details. Devote your whole focus to the patient during the appointment and avoid distractions.” Don’t underestimate the impact of body language.
Body language works both ways. A therapist’s open and professional body language is required for a good bedside manner. A doctor will also need to read a patient’s body language to pick up on things that are left unsaid.
If you suspect something is disturbing the patient, identify its effect and discuss the potential problem with the patient before it interferes with your history and physical exam. Be careful of your own body language as well. When presenting a significant argument, look the patient in the eyes and control any behaviors that may cause a patient to doubt your integrity, honesty, or self-confidence.
Consider your patient’s time as valuable as your own.
Everyone understands that therapists are extremely busy, but patients are as well. Recognize when you are running late and cannot honor your time. Your patients will appreciate it. It is insulting to the patient to fail to realize when someone has been waiting.
Failure to notice when someone has been waiting is rude to the patient and gives the impression that you value your time more than theirs, and it’s not a good Bedside Manner for physical and Occupational therapists.
Confirm your patient’s fears.
Patients don’t just go to the therapist for an annual check-up. They go when they have troubling symptoms and are concerned about their health. You might have to diagnose a life-altering ailment or deliver awful news.
Your patient may be appropriately startled or agitated during challenging conversations. A good bedside manner therapist will not only understand what a patient is going through but will also acknowledge and validate the patient’s worries.
Stay with the patient if they begin to cry or show unpleasant emotions. Accept and acknowledge the emotion, and give them time to absorb what they’re feeling.