It is of vital importance that a doctor have the best training possible in the medical field. When a patient goes to see a physician, the patient wants to have confidence in the physician’s abilities. This is only one part of the doctor and patient relationship. The doctor must be able to effectively communicate with the patient so that the patient understands his condition and the treatment protocol that will help him to recover.
One area that most patients believe that doctors need to work on is their listening skills. Doctors need to take the time to patiently listen to what their patients are saying. Doctors need to practice active listening skills where the doctor reflects back to the patient what the patient has said. This helps to make sure that there is no misunderstanding between the doctor and the patient.
A part of listening is patience. Most of those who visit the doctor feel as if the visit is rushed. When people feel rushed, they aren’t able to ask the questions that they need to ask in order to find out about their condition and the treatment that is required.
When interviewing a patient regarding the patient’s symptoms, doctors should ask opened-ended questions. Questions that just elicit yes and no answers don’t let the patient tell the story of their ailment. If patients have the space to provide more expansive answers, the doctor will be able to glean more information about the patient’s symptoms, concerns and basic understanding of any conditions that the patient might have.
Doctors also need to understand that they are much more highly educated than the majority of their patients. Doctors need to assess the educational level of the patient, and then information needs to be presented to a patient in terms that the patient can understand. When a doctor starts to use technical medical terms, the average patient may become confused about the specifics. Many people are afraid to ask questions because that don’t want to come off as being uneducated, so they won’t have the full picture of their medical situation.
Finally, doctors need to tell the truth and be honest with the patient. A patient can easily tell when a doctor isn’t giving them all of the information. It is best to get a bad prognosis out in the open so that patients know right away what they will be facing.
As for patients, doctors have an expectation that you will be honest and communicative with them, as well.