When I was growing up, my mother always taught me to treat people the way I would expect to be treated. This is a good ethos to have, but does it work when you are trying to develop relationships?
As a doctor, you need to be constantly working on building relationships with the people around you. This includes your colleagues as well as your patients. Today, we are going to look at building relationships with your patients.
Patients need to feel comfortable with you as their doctor; they need to like you and trust you, and in order to create this you need to treat them the way THEY want to be treated.
So what are some of the biggest problems doctors face when communicating with patients? I grew up with a father who was a doctor, and he often said his biggest problem was trying to explain medical information to patients who often misunderstood.
Understanding behaviour styles, however, can help your communication with patients. Individual behavioural styles can be easily recognised in a first meeting; it includes simple things like a patient’s pace, what they wear, how they talk, how they move their hands and the specific words they use.
But before considering the behavioural styles of patients, you first need to evaluate yourself. Think about how you dress, whether you’re a fast-paced person, how you shake someone’s hand when you first meet them…
If you find yourself disheartened by unresponsive patients, or patients unhappy with your delivery of specific information, then it may be time to start communicating with each patient in an individual way so you get the most out of the conversation. Using DISC language can help with this.
The concept of behavioural styles has been around since Hippocrates. In looking at how a person behaves, not their personality, we can adjust our own behaviour to communicate in a better way – one they can connect with and understand. Communicating better with your patients will help you to be more efficient, and by understanding the behavioural styles of each individual you will be able to discuss their health with them more easily. Both doctor and patient will get more from the conversation, and ultimately the patient will be motivated to listen to you properly and fully understand their problem.
The key to successful communication with patients stems from having an understanding of people. When you know more about a person, you can communicate more efficiently with them, and as a result you will become more successful as a doctor.