When you’re caring for patients, you need learned medical skills in order to provide appropriate treatment. Almost as important as medical knowledge, however, is empathy. Even when the medical care is the same, treatment from an empathetic caregiver often proves more effective than that from someone lacking empathy.
- To boost your empathy, listen to your patients. Practice active listening, thinking about how the patient must be feeling as you listen to what’s being said. Think about how you would feel in that position, and when it’s your turn to talk, repeat back what you heard and think about what the person meant and might feel. Cultivate your listening skills. When you’re having a conversation, even with a friend, pay attention to your own Are you actually listening, or are you thinking about your own response? People share more when they believe they are being heard, so knowing how to listen is an important skill for a medical professional to have.
- Put yourself in the other person’s shoes. We all have our own points of view, and sometimes our ingrained prejudices and assumptions can get in the way of our ability to relate to other people. When you can put yourself in the other person’s position, thinking about the struggles that person faces and what they want, you may be surprised to find common ground. Talking to someone to learn more about their situation is a good place to start building the kind of understanding that leads to compassion and empathy.
- Look into your patients’ eyes. Sometimes it’s hard to make eye contact, especially if you’re busy taking notes or writing on a chart. If you pause to look up and make eye contact, you’ll make the patient feel more at ease. This can lead to connection and make the patient more likely to follow your advice and seek treatment in the future.
- Be aware of nonverbal cues. Sometimes, what a person says does not tell the whole story of what they are feeling. Pay attention to body language: nonverbal cues are difficult to fake and can give a more accurate picture of what’s really going on. Appropriate use of body language can even help to build the rapport that contributes to a good relationship between patient and caregiver.
Empathy is a skill you need to be an effective patient care technician. For all the other skills you’ll need, it’s important to find the right school for your training. ABC Training Center is a medical assistant school NYC students trust, and our nationally certified program prepares you to work in any medical setting. Continue browsing to learn more about our patient care technician, home health aide and medical assistant training in New York or call us at 718-618-5589.