Schools Training

Helping “Difficult” Patients

14 MAY 2013
Career Path : Childcare

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Most healthcare courses would admonish you to look out for cues from your patients in communicating a nonverbal message. Patients who are often regarded of as ‘difficult’ could be the measure of the quality of your service; even the most nagging and unapproachable person expresses gratitude in their way. Physical cues are a great way of determining the responsiveness to your efforts. Here are a few examples:


1. Expression of Gratitude

You should probably not wait for a verbal expression, as most would have their minds on other concerns other than the need to express the value of the service they just received. Dental Assistant School and PSW courses teach you to that you can read facial expressions for the implication of a smile; like a relaxed eye contact with a slight grin, a positive acknowledgment of medication or activity based instructions, or sometimes a simple smile. Even a patient who has expressed the possibility of dissatisfaction may throw in an involuntary expression.


2. Confidence to Converse

This is often overlooked as a personality trait as opposed to an expressed satisfaction with the service. Conversation is a way of averting the most currently prevalent condition, like waiting in a long line, an extended road trip, or when administering rather uncomfortable medication. It’s also a pointer that the patient is expressing expected satisfaction, another way of saying that they are confident that you will deliver the service as intended.


3. Relaxed Body Language

The body has its own way of communicating confidence: a relaxed body language. This is characterized by the relaxation of involuntary muscles, which is clearly visible on the face and the projection on the body. A clenching or pull-away is often an indication of fear or a lack of confidence, and if you notice that in your patients it would be easier to adapt your interaction. PSW courses help you learn many ways of instilling patient relaxation, some which would be beneficial for you in caring for your patients.


4. Expression of Discomfort

This seems to contradict good patient behavior in regard to your service delivery, but the ability to explicitly express discomfort could be a way of indicating your ability to avert that feeling. For example, dental assistant schools teach you useful questions which you can ask patients to identify symptoms that are not immediately apparent. Comfortable patients express it without questioning, they express concern in a reaction that they might not understand, it might not be in a verbal sense, a slight cringe, a sigh, teeth clenching or closing of the eyes is a way of picking out queues of discomfort. They do not directly speak to good mannerisms, but it would be increasingly difficult to serve a patient who does not express themselves.

Visit NAHB for more information on other people-skill training like becoming an early childhood assistant.