Schools Training

Hands-on Medical Tips

23 JAN 2013
Career Path : Healthcare

Whether you’re a nurse, or a graduate of personal support worker courses, or maybe even someone with medical office assistant courses, you may have to handle the difficult side of helping patients.



You’ll face patients in pain, in end-of-life situations, and people with limited odds for survival or incurable conditions. Worse, you may be unable to alleviate anything other than secondary symptoms. This can be very psychologically hard on anyone, whether you expected it as part of the job or not. To some extent you will eventually develop some clinical detachment, but unlike the doctor, who can often resort to professional authority for distance, you need to maintain a closer connection with patients. Personal support worker courses and other medical training will stress the importance of good beside manners, but your job will involve balancing enough empathy to keep a connection without getting overwhelmed.


Tough Patients (and Families)

Even if you manage to balance empathy with self-protection, not every patient will be easy to get along with. People in pain are often crabby, irrational and may lash out or externalize their problem onto the very people trying to help them. But even the most forgiving and patient person may also be accompanied by difficult family members. Unlike you, who has been used to things since day one of your medical office assistant courses or however you got trained, there will be family members who see their loved one in pain, don’t understand how things work and worry if they don’t push enough on the support workers their loved one won’t get better, or will simply misbehave as a way of dealing with a situation beyond their control. For this reason all medical facilities keep a protocol in place for these situations. But as far as not losing your own cool, it may be helpful to think of misbehaviours as a symptom of the illness. It’s never meant personally.


The Awkward

You might be blasé about bodily functions, but a loss of independence can feel like a step down for the person who needs the help. Whether they’ve lost the ability to feed themselves after a stroke or they need help with a bedpan while recovering from a short term injury, you’ll be able to help with this sort of thing without blushing by the first week of personal support worker courses, but the patient does not have your training. For this reason many medical support workers of all kinds adopt a persona that’s very jolly and maybe a bit goofy. For some reason this sort of cheerleader routine helps, maybe because it distracts the patient or merely because it displays that you have no judgement.


Still, everyone gets overwhelmed. If this advice isn’t enough, don’t let yourself be burned out. Take some time off and talk to a therapist.



Visit Algonquin Careers Academy for more information on a good bedside manner and reducing your stress on the job.