The primary reason most people choose medicine is because of the honest and sincere intention to help people. Undoubtedly, it is one of the most honorable and respectful professions. Whether healthcare practitioners work in hospitals or private practice, they restore health and bring a real difference in people’s lives.
The concept of a patient-practitioner relationship isn’t something new. It’s a critically important element for a successful and sustainable healthcare system. However, the evaluation of the factors that significantly influence this relationship is still in its initial stage.
Due to this, another crucial perspective gets overlooked, which is equally important, if not more, i.e., about patients. The distinctive characteristics and qualities of healthcare practitioners greatly influence the clinical experience of the patients. Unfortunately, this is something patients fail to realize.
Aren’t they the reason why healthcare workers practice in the first place? Why not value their viewpoints and listen to what they expect from the healthcare system?
There are countless benefits of a healthy patient-healthcare worker relationship. A few of them include increased patient satisfaction, improved diagnosis, more compliance to the treatment schedule, and positive results. However, it’s pretty challenging to overcome the barriers that impede the path of a constructive relationship.
The article reveals some of the crucial elements that strengthen the patient-practitioner relationship:
1. Deliverance of optimum care
The idea of continuity of care is paramount to establish a relationship of trust. Continuity of care is a process that involves both the patients and the healthcare workers to ensure the deliverance of the highest quality care.
Often, patients encounter several professionals in the healthcare facility for different purposes. And this raises concerns for fragmentation of care. Since nurses are an integral part of the healthcare system, they serve as mediators between patients and other health teams.
Although continuity of care nursing is complex, nurses should use their critical thinking skills and technical knowledge to provide holistic care and cater to patients’ needs. In addition, they must advocate for the patient’s concerns and communicate them to other healthcare members.
That way, patients can receive quality care at the right time, and healthcare workers can provide strong rapport.
2. Strong communication
Communication is a two-way road. Patients and healthcare professionals should practice excellent communication skills to get on the same page. Providers should convey complex medical information and instructions in simple terms that are understandable and sounds reasonable to the patients.
Moreover, good communication doesn’t restrict to speaking only; it also involves active listening. Healthcare professionals should listen intently, understand patients’ concerns and repeat what they say to show their immersion in the conversation.
Also, it’s imperative to use non-verbal cues such as nodding the head, constant eye contact, and leaning forward to show interest. Through these signs, patients feel a sense of acknowledgment, security, and comfort.
Likewise, patients should be honest about their condition when talking to their practitioners. Not sharing accurate information and only disclosing the brief details might affect the treatment process and care delivery. Instead of feeling self-conscious and uncomfortable, patients should be as candid as possible.
3. Mutual decision-making
The key to thriving in the healthcare career depends on the relationship with the patients. The more healthy a relationship is, the more likely patients are to cooperate with the healthcare workers. Thus, to strengthen the bond, it’s indispensable that healthcare professionals keep the patients in the loop and go for shared decision-making.
Shared or mutual decision-making refers to a multi-pronged approach in which the practitioners and patients work collaboratively to map out a treatment plan. Instead of making their own decisions, providers should indulge the patients in conversations.
After complete assessment and diagnosis of the patient, healthcare workers should first discuss various treatment choices available. Once the patient settles on a particular option, the provider must point out and explicitly explain the pros and cons of that treatment plan.
That way, patients will feel independent and in control and probably comply with the treatment plan, thereby enhancing outcomes.
The institution of a constructive patient-practitioner relationship lies on the golden rule of empathy. When treated with empathetic clinicians, patients feel more at ease and feel contented. Therefore, healthcare professionals who wish to break the code of high patient satisfaction should also practice empathy during practice.
When healthcare professionals put themselves in patients’ shoes, only then it’s possible to understand their feelings and concerns. While the practitioner might not be in the exact situation as the patient, still, they must think of an incident when they were at the receiving end of diagnosis.
Healthcare workers who showcase compassion can relate with the patients differently and make them feel valued. Therefore, if they have some heart-shattering news to share, use positive words and consider the patient’s feelings. Or providers can share their own stories to strengthen the connection.
To sum it all, the positive patient-provider relationship is utterly impossible if there is no involvement of empathy from the beginning.
To say that a lasting patient-practitioner relationship only requires mutual understanding would be a bit of an understatement. It takes a great deal of time and endeavor from both sides to forge a healthy relationship and encourage good health practices.
While it is beyond doubt that healthcare professionals have never ceased to provide quality care. Unfortunately, during this fast-paced and time-crunched work settings, it’s easy to push the thought of a valuable patient-practitioner at the back of the mind.