Safety for Each Patient: Improving Bedside Manner in Hospitals

The priority for any healthcare organization should be to provide the best care and ensure Safety for Each Patient. A hospital is a place where many accidents or mistakes could happen. So ensuring safety for each patient is important. One of the ways safety can be ensured is by training doctors and nurses to have a proper bedside manner. Good bedside manner increases patient engagement and increased patient engagement means nurses and doctors can provide better care to the patients. It also means little details that would usually go unnoticed will be caught and this improves the overall quality of care.

Ways to Improve Safety for Each Patient by Improving Bedside Manner


Introduce Yourself to the Patient

Many doctors and nurses forget to introduce themselves when they walk into a patients room. A research study done in John Hopkins Hospital found that only 10% of patients could name the doctor who provided care for them during their stay in a hospital. Proper introductions at the beginning help both caregiver and patient start off to a good start. It breaks any tension that might exist and it makes conversation start to flow.

Call Patients by their Names

During introductions, it is important for doctors and nurses to learn the names of their patients too. Calling a patient by their name makes them feel noticed and relevant. They feel special and do not feel like just another random patient that the doctor has to attend to that day. It also makes the patient feel more comfortable to talk about their health.

Explain Your Role

Make sure you explain to your patient who you are and the role you will be playing in their treatment plan. Many patients get attended to by different doctors and nurses and it can be quite confusing. Do not assume that they know why you are there. Explain to them your role in their care plan and answer any they might have. When a patient knows the role you play in their treatment, it leads to increased patient engagement as they are more comfortable with having you around and are more likely to open up to you.

Listen to the Patient

Being sick is a very scary and vulnerable feeling. Many doctors and nurses because they are around sick people a lot has developed an indifference to that scary feeling. Just because a doctor or nurse has seen sick patients a million time does not mean that each patients pain and feelings of fear are less. Doctors and nurses should try to listen to their patients when they try to explain their illness. Some doctors cut the patient short because they assume they already what’s wrong and then they proceed to treatment. Let patients explain fully what their illness is and it just might provide more insight into the patient’s illness.


Have Good Body Language

Body language sometimes a lot more than words. Doctors and nurses need to be mindful of their body language around patients. If they appear to be impatient, defensive, irritated or distracted, it makes the patient feel unheard or even unwelcome. Try to pay full attention when the patient is talking, nod and smile when needed and show concern instead of indifference.

Safety for Each Patient

Validate Patient Concerns

When listening to patients validate any legitimate concerns they have before correcting any wrong ones. Do not be quick to dismiss a patient and tell them everything they feel or have experienced in their body is wrong. Sickness is very personal and if a patient self-diagnosis themselves, let them know gently. Do not just shut them off or down and make them feel stupid. Also, doctors and nurses should try to show empathy. Even if its just a routine diagnosis it could be life altering for a patient. Take time to tell the patient their diagnosis and explain their treatment plan. A blunt answer could be devastating to a patient and so will nonchalance.

Ask Open Ended-Questions

Open-ended questions give patients a chance to express themselves and how they fell. Instead of asking yes or no questions, ask them how they feel or if they hurt anywhere other than the area being treated. When a patient is given a chance to discuss how they are feeling, they are more to treatment, more optimistic, and even happier. Things like this ensure safety for each patient. When a patient asks a question you are unsure of, take time to do some research before you answer. Let the patient know that that question requires further research instead of brushing it off or worse still providing wrong information. Take time to research all the options and find the best answer for the patient. Precautions like this ensure safety for each patient. You might think that giving a patient the wrong answer will be harmless but it could lead to devastating consequences if that wrong information is used to make some important decisions.