The value of doctors with good bedside manner


A few days ago, a Reddit user by the name of u/sova198 posted this image on the r/pics subreddit:


bedside manner


It had a title that only said: “Doctors putting own pictures on PPE so patients can see who’s treating them”. Since then, the image received more than 79,8 k upvotes and more than 890 comments. Most of them praised the doctors for their compassion and humaneness.

Of course, no person in their right mind would think to criticize medical health professionals on the front lines of the pandemic for their bedside manner. Their jobs are as hard as it is. One Italian doctor famously described just how exhausting and soul-crushing the fight against covid19 is. So many healthcare workers are risking their health and even lives every day to keep us safe. Working long hours and multiple shifts would take an enormous toll on anyone. And yet, they keep pushing and fighting for every life possible.


Patient’s side of the issue



Nurse measuring a patient's blood pressure

Photo by Hush Naidoo on Unsplash



However, the picture in question emphasizes the point that became more and more apparent in recent years: the incredible importance of bedside manner when dealing with sick patients. Being ill is not exactly easy either. Many people that come to a doctor are scared and confused. They feel lonely. They need to feel like they’re in good hands and that people treating them do have their best interest at heart.

Not surprisingly, research shows that a good bedside manner can actually lead to better outcomes for patients. It turns out that the rudeness of doctors and the medical staff can result in patient’s health getting worse or even, in them having a higher likelihood of dying while at the hospital. The relationship is probably not direct, nobody ever died from rudeness. However, experiencing that sort of behavior means that people are less likely to report relevant issues, take doctor’s advice or even trust them enough for the treatment to have the full effect. That still rings through for healthcare practitioners that aren’t directly dealing with covid19 cases.

They still have patients. Many of them that come to the doctor’s office during these times are scared that they have it. Maybe they have someone older at home that they are afraid will catch it and die. Maybe they are concerned for their children if anything happens to them. Or maybe, they’re simply scared for themselves during a potential battle with a virus that no one else can really fight for them. If they do have it, medical health professionals can only treat their symptoms. The outcome will depend on their immune systems. In those cases, a bit of compassion can go a long way.


Bedside manner and professional reputation



a doctor holding a stetoscope

Photo by Online Marketing on Unsplash



As the pandemic rages on, the true value of professionals in the medical field gets more and more apparent. And among them, the value is even greater for those who are known for their bedside manner. That’s why many websites like Vitals put great stress on patient’s hospital experience when in their ratings of medical health professionals. At the time of writing this post, there are following elements  that make up their total rating:

  • Wait Time
  • Easy Appointments
  • Promptness
  • Friendly Staff
  • Accurate Diagnosis
  • Bedside Manner
  • Spends Time With Patients
  • Appropriate Followup

Bedside manner is one but almost all of them are in some way related to doctor’s compassion. People want caring hospital staff. They want to feel important and that their health is valued. Even though it’s often overlooked, compassion is one of the key elements that make a good healthcare professional.  When we included Vitals as a new platform, we at justLikeAPI didn’t realize just how important those ratings can be. But over time, it got more and more obvious. Medical professionals that truly care about their patient’s health are more valued than those that don’t. Or at the very least, appear like they don’t.  As the research above suggests, it’s more than a patient’s comfort, it is sometimes a tiny difference that can have serious implications on their health and lives.

Again, this post isn’t meant to suggest that medical professionals aren’t doing enough already. It’s meant to remind us all of the importance of compassion. We are all dealing with this the best that we can and it’s good to be as kind as possible to each other. Not only does it have a big impact on our reputation but it’s crucial for our mental and physical health.

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