In healthcare, you’re forced to work with patients from all different types of backgrounds. It’s important to understand the reasoning behind patient behavior as you determine the proper treatment for them. Check out these situations and tips to help you decide how to deal with difficult patients in your career!
How to Handle Rude Patients
The rudeness and hate that goes on in hospitals is almost unbelievable. Doctors like Esther Choo face racist patients who refuse her treatment because of her race. Though Choo was obviously hurt by patient reactions, she continues to handle these tense situations with grace and compassion. She kindly explains her qualifications to treat the patients and then moves forward no matter what the patient chooses.
The problem goes beyond race. Physicians may face prejudice due to their religions, sexual orientations, gender and more. To truly fix this problem, we must promote diversity in medicine as a society.
How to Handle Angry Patients
Dealing with angry people in any setting can be difficult, but it’s especially overwhelming in medical situations. Their personal circumstance, like a recent diagnosis, medical history or past experience with medical professionals, may be affecting the way they’re communicating with you. Get to the bottom of their anger and see if there’s something you can do to improve the situation. Make sure they properly understand their condition, how it will affect them and any treatment options you’re exploring.
How to Handle Demanding Patients & Their Families
Patients often experience extra stress while they’re in the process of receiving medical attention. Parents and other family members may be particularly high strung. This can result in a list of demands, whether they be treatments, special requests or answers. Be as open and transparent as possible with your patients, so you can reach a mutual understanding. If their demands are unrealistic, explain why. Talk about the types of care that are currently available or the limited staff members that are working hard to locate an extra pillow for the hospital room.
How to Handle Patients with Mental Health Issues
It can be difficult to treat patients effectively, especially if you’re unaware of other underlying issues they may be experiencing. Understanding these underlying factors are essential to your understanding of how to deal with difficult patients. Patients who suffer from depression may be particularly difficult to handle appropriately. If you detect depression in your patients, consider whether their mental health is interfering with your communication or treatment. Seek out any extra help they may need to ensure they get proper treatment.
Tips: How to Deal with Difficult Patients
1. Be Professional
Regardless of how rude, angry, unfair or mean your patients are acting, you’re still the professional and you have to behave as such. Remain calm throughout your communication and seek out help from other staff members if necessary.
2. Show Compassion
While your patients experience some of the most difficult points in their lives, you serve as a critical member of their support system. Try to understand the emotions they’re displaying and show them that you care about what they’re going through.
3. Understand How Patient Relationships Affect You
As you focus your attention on how to deal with difficult patients, it’s easy to lose yourself in the shuffle. Patients are of course the priority for any physician, but that doesn’t mean you should be sacrificing your own well-being. Negative patient interactions can take a serious toll on your mental and emotional health, which can in turn negatively affect your personal life and your job performance. Leave your stress on the job, and do what it takes to preserve your health.
What are your tips and tricks for dealing with difficult patients?