When it comes to patient introductions, do you know how yours measure up?
If any of these patient introduction pitfalls sound familiar, it might be time to give yourself an introduction intervention.
1. Glazing over your name and title
Patients see countless staff come in and out of their rooms and many of them wear scrubs. How are they supposed to know the important role you play in their care if you don’t give your full name and title?
2. Avoiding eye contact
When you don’t make eye contact, you’re sending the message that you aren’t really there with your patient. Looking someone in the eye makes them feel seen.
3. Getting right to task without connecting
Yes, you’re busy and have a lot of dueling priorities. But taking a moment to chat with a patient about the weather or some other non-urgent small talk will make them feel less like a patient with a diagnosis and more like a human being.
4. Exhibiting negative body language
Do you tend to slouch or wring your hands together? How about crossing your arms? We’re often not even aware of some of our body language tendencies. Try to notice yours and see if you can work on reducing them.
5. Going overboard
A neutral smile and a handshake is great, but too loud and boisterous may have the opposite effect, as will seeming too cheerful. Stay neutral until you gauge what your patient needs.
6. Making assumptions
Maybe you’ve been told in report that a patient is difficult. Or you judge how things will go based on the diagnosis. Try not to assume anything about the patient. Let things unfold and see how it goes.
If you think you might be guilty of a few of these, don’t fear! Read the tips for stellar patient intros here, then start to replace any slipping habits with more positive tactics.
What pitfalls have you experienced when introducing yourself to a patient?