Follow CARE to value patients as individuals and build trust
As a fellow technician, I always carry myself in a manner of respect, courteousness, empathy, and attentiveness. I allow patients to feel valued as an individual—not just a chart number.
Keeping these traits top of mind during your clinic day will lead to a great experience for your patient, which will build an amazing rapport that will lead to trust from the patient.
I developed important key factors of what a technician should know for their interactions. I use the acronym CARE:
Take pride in your appearance; having a clean uniform or professional attire shows that you are serious about yourself and your work.
Learn all medical conditions, and become familiar with all medications and their side effects. This will help you determine what testing is required. This comes across to the patient that you know what you are doing, and in that moment, trust is developed, giving the patient the reassurance that she came to the right place.
Technicians should obtain their knowledge of the field through studying or taking CE (continuing education) courses. The more information we know, the better we can help service our patients properly. That way, the physician has all the necessary tools they need to better diagnose and treat the patient.
Pay attention to your patient’s movement or mannerisms. Especially for established patients, changes may indicate something new going on systemically or a recent injury.
Give your patient your undivided attention and make her feel valued. I know complete attention is more difficult with the advent of electronic medical records (EMR), but it goes a long way when you acknowledge your patient as a person instead of a chart number.
It is important that technicians don’t lose sight of the human interaction; that is the essence of health care.
Listening to the patient’s chief complaint and history of present illness (HPI) and taking a thorough history— including all medications—is key. This will inform how to move forward with testing.
This information will also drive the examination and what steps will be required to follow-up with what was discussed.
It will also allow you to start thinking like a clinician and not just a technician going through the motions.
Doctor’s offices tend to make patients uncomfortable. Sometimes patients get the feeling of coldness and indifference from the office and its staff, which makes patients not want to be there.
Make the patient's experience enjoyable. Greet every patient with a smile, convey that you are happy to have them come to the office. Show empathy and establish a rapport with patients, especially elderly patients who may need help moving around. Offer help, especially if they come to the visit without a companion.
Some patients might be going through difficult times that you know nothing about, so try to be understanding and, in a sense, read the situation.
Being a healthcare professional means you have a career in helping people and making a difference. It shouldn’t be viewed as simply a paycheck or a way to pay the bills. I got into the field to help people and make a difference in someone’s life other than my own. I like to view every single person in my exam chair as a family member, friend, and—more importantly—myself.