Ari Ginsberg, PT, DPT, MSIOP
Exceptional bedside manner is the cornerstone of successful patient care. It facilitates positive outcomes by ensuring greater follow through from the patient in adhering to their HEP prescription. Bedside manner also results in greater patient retention and more referrals. It is therefore beneficial for PTs, OTs, and all healthcare clinicians to study and apply the principles of exceptional bedside manner in their professional practice in order to excel at patient care.
There are different approaches to bedside manner training. When I was a practicing home health physical therapist, my agency had a company salesman explain the necessity of smiling and leaving one’s stresses at home while involved in patient care. I call that the “old school” approach; sharing obvious advice in a pep talk like manner to motivate the clinician to improve on their mannerisms. However, what I observed was that the salesman’s speech was forgotten pretty quickly and clinicians went on in a business as usual manner.
A newer more innovative approach is understanding how our patients think and using that knowledge to build a stronger connection with them. For example, understanding human biases or determining how to convey empathy based on the research are foundational principles to improving bedside manner. Treating bedside manner as a learned skill based on scientific principles is the first step in mastering bedside manner and optimizing the patient experience. To learn more, check out psychologyforthebodyceu.com or vimeo.com/ondemand/bedsidemanner.