In a recent blog, I shared with you some of the advice I give to my clients to help them cultivate a happier, healthier and higher performing culture while delivering care with more focus and passion! I covered the first fundamental—which is “Know Them”—in my previous post. In this blog, I want to reveal the second and third fundamentals of my philosophy for showing patients you care.
2. Don’t Judge! It is human nature to have our favorite patients, and we go above and beyond in delivering their care. We are, in essence, judging our patients based on their behavior. Sure, we will be courteous and polite, but before we go all out, we evaluate their worthiness first. It’s as if they need to meet some kind of external standard we have set in our mind. Unfortunately, we often treat certain patients differently based on external standards—such as being tardy, quirky, uptight, anxious or upset—and fail to deliver the level of care that we would for our favorite patients…our VIPs!
If we are truly going to care for someone, we will look past the outward and go right to the heart. Instead of prejudging people before we get to know them, we should always show genuine interest—regardless of circumstances and personality. When we sincerely care for people, we will always be a person with whom others feel comfortable. They will feel confident that we don’t have a hidden agenda and they will trust that we will listen to them without judging them.
Active listening is often the biggest validation to show that we care! Be an active listener by:
- Making eye contact
- Smiling at patients
- Being polite
- Focusing on what they are saying
3. Show Empathy! Empathy is essential if we want to show our patients we care. Sometimes it may seem hard to show empathy to patients who are displaying less than desirable behaviors. I am not suggesting we just fake it; instead, come from a real place by entering their world. Imagine what it feels like to walk in their shoes by asking yourself the following questions:
- What would it take for me to act like that?
- Would I feel differently if it were my mom or dad (a family member) behaving this way?
- How would I feel if this were happening to me or if I were in their circumstances?
Any time we can imagine the situation from the other person’s point of view, we lower our own defenses and—in the process—defuse their anger. Imagination influences feelings and feelings are the source of desire. It makes our actions easy and natural and real when we desire to do something. Compassion, caring, comforting and kindness make up the bulk of adjectives linked to patient loyalty and are rooted in one’s capacity for empathy. According to the dictionary, “empathy” is “the ability to share in another’s emotions or feelings.” It is composed of two Greek words that mean “affection” and “feeling.” When our patents receive empathy, they feel loved and cared about.
Check back soon to discover the fourth and final fundamental in a future post.
If you want to learn more about delivering exceptional patient care, I hope you come see me at the 2017 Oral Global Health Summit. I would love to hear your ideas on this topic as well as to learn about what’s working well for you in your practice. If you haven’t already registered for the Summit, I am pleased to offer you some incentive to do it today. Here’s $200 off your registration! Just enter BLOG when you register.
I can’t wait to see you at the Summit.