After my interview with Joel last week on MSHQ Episode 132, Joel sent me a message on Twitter and was talking about shadowing and premeds that led to a discussion with Allison about shadowing, premeds, and being a physician about bedside manner and how to maximize that to build rapport with a patient.
So in this episode, Ryan and Allison talk about some ideas on how to maximize your bedside manner and rapport to be a great premed as you’re shadowing, be a great medical student, and be a great physician for patients in the future. And wherever you are at this point, you can start honing that now.
Here are the highlights of the conversation with :
What is bedside manner?
- The perception that the patient has of you as their caregiver. “Perception” being that the patient may perceive you in a different way.
- The way you carry yourself and communicate with your patients
Why is this important?
- The patients is looking for some things from you:
- They need help.
- They’re looking for someone to take care of them and treat them with courtesy, kindness, and respect.
- How your bedside manner or communication affects patient outcomes
What are ways of improving bedside manner and communication for those who are shadowing, premeds, med students, or physicians?
- Observe and listen.
- Be an active observer and look around and see how other healthcare providers are interacting with patients.
- See what works and what doesn’t. Take the good, leave the bad.
- Observe the routines, what’s the next step, what can you do to anticipate that, and be prepared with whatever it is the residents are going to expect and be ready with it.
- Actively observing helps you understand what’s really going on.
- Take mental and physical notes.
- As you’re listening to the communication from the physician also look at the patient and observe their reaction.
- How you carry yourself physically.
- How you dress:
Wearing scrubs as not professional: In the medical culture, it’s appropriate. But still carry yourself in a professional way no matter what you’re wearing.
- Body language:
A game you can do to mentally prepare yourself for this: Every doorway that you walk through, take a second and stand up tall. Hold your shoulder blades back. Put your head up and put a smile on your face.
- Should you cry with the patient?
It depends on how well and how long you’ve known this patient. Read the situation and be thoughtful about it. It’s okay to cry but not be crying to the point of hyperventilating.
- Getting to the same level of your patient.
Sitting on the bed to get to the level of the patient. Eye contact is important. Using the computer by the bedside loses face-to-face communication.
Some pieces of advice for premed students:
Start practicing bedside manner with everybody you interact with. Start doing it now.
Links and Other Resources
- MSHQ Episode 132 with Dr. Joel Topf
- Free MCAT Gift: Free 30+ page guide with tips to help you maximize your MCAT score and which includes discount codes for MCAT prep as well.
- Blueprint MCAT (formerly Next Step Test Prep): Get one-on-one tutoring for the MCAT and maximize your score. Mention that you heard about this on the podcast or through the MSHQ website.
- Check out our partner magazine, www.premedlife.com to learn more about awesome premed information.
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