Developing Good Bedside Manner

As a physician, being good at diagnosing and treating diseases and illnesses are at the forefront of your mind.

Sometimes, physicians can be so wrapped up in the solution to the problem, that they forget they are treating a human being. This can come off to the patient as cold and uncaring.

Even if you treat the symptoms successfully, patient satisfaction will be low if they feel like they are being dismissed.

That’s why bedside manner is such an integral part of your success as a physician. If you feel like you could brush up on these, you’ve come to the right place.

This article will give you seven tips that you can use in your daily rounds to help increase your patient satisfaction and retention.

1. Really Listen

There are times when physicians have little time to breathe between patients. This can turn into what feels like a constant rotation of faceless cases of illness and injury that need to be treated.

If you feel this way, you can be sure that your patients have noticed.

When your patients feel like they aren’t being heard, they tend to stop speaking. Then you have a problem.

How do you diagnose the problem if you don’t have full disclosure of the symptoms?

Slow down and really listen to them. This will help the patient to trust you and encourage open communication so that you can get to the bottom of what’s causing their symptoms.

2. Show Respect

Dignifying a patient will go a long way in raising patient satisfaction scores. You can show more respect to a patient by addressing them by name, looking them in the eye, and addressing their concerns.

If they have brought others with them to the appointment, acknowledge them, and be friendly. Often these are caregivers, family members, or others offering moral support to the patient.

Their impression of you counts to the patient as well. Make it a good one.

3. Use the Right Body Language

You’d be surprised how much you can put a person at ease by sitting at eye level instead of standing over them. Smile when you first enter the room and keep a relaxed composure throughout the appointment.

Your body language should show self-confidence without being aggressive. Never should the patient feel like you are rushing them or ignoring them.

4. Show Empathy

There may be times when your patients are worried or in pain. Acknowledge this and show concern.

Try to put yourself in their shoes. Think about how you would feel if you were disabled and all the stresses that would come with that.

If they break down and cry, don’t run off. Stay in the room and help them through it. Speak consolingly and show compassion.

5. Speak Clearly and Concisely

Introduce yourself and why you’re there. Communicate with them honestly and sincerely. Don’t use words they won’t understand and take the time to answer any questions that they have.

When you are discussing treatment options, take the time to provide the pros and cons of all, but explain why you want to go forward with your chosen method.

6. Apologize For the Wait

There may be times when your patient has already waited a long time just to see you. At times, this is out of your control, but that’s not how they would see it.

When you are aware that your appointment wait times are high, a simple apology will go a long way.

7. Don’t Dismiss or Interrupt

Many times a patient might come into your office with a self-diagnosis. They are convinced that they have a problem and they just want you to back them up.

Even if they are way off, don’t dismiss their concerns as unimportant. Take the time to address what they think and kindly readjust.

Also, don’t interrupt them when they are talking, but try to stay in control of the conversation for efficiency’s sake.


Remember, your patients come to you with a problem. They are already in a state of concern.

As a physician, you can do them a tremendous service simply by helping them to feel less anxious and make them feel confident about being in your care.

Good bedside manners can also help to keep you out of trouble with complaints, claims, and lawsuits.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.