Putting The Patient First.May 20, 2021
So I’ve got this great story for you today. And I really want to emphasize how awesome it is to work in a medical system where everybody is approachable and easily reachable. This includes all my wonderful technologists and my physician colleagues.
OK, so here’s the story. A patient came in for a recheck of a pseudoaneurysm and she lived pretty far away. She was under the impression that if the pseudoaneurysm was still there, that it would be treated on the spot. However, her primary care doc or she never had an appointment set up with the interventional radiology team who does the treatments for these conditions. Well, we scanned her and of course the aneurysm was still there. I didn’t want her to have to drive all the way home and then have to drive all the way back again on a whole separate day to get the pseudoaneurysm treated. So what did I do?
Very simple really. I called my interventional colleagues and I asked if they could squeeze in an add-on case to their already very bust day. I explained the situation, that this patient came from a pretty far distance away and would have to come all the way back again adding a significant hassle to herself and family. Well, being the great interventional team that they are, of course they were able to squeeze her in, do the case and fix the situation for us all.
So to me, this is a great example of putting the patient first. The interventional team did not have to do what they did, but once they heard about the situation, they were more than willing to help out. This is something that happens all the time in my institution. This is one of the things that’s very rewarding about working with a bunch of great providers who are all extremely competent and easy to get a hold of. I bet many institutions would be able to accommodate this patient just like we were, well at least I hope they could.
A patient first mentality means placing the patient at the center of what we do. It’s more than just doing a procedure or a scan on a patient with courtesy, respect and confidence. That’s expected of us. That’s basically the bare minimum.
So here are some things to keep in mind when utilizing the patient first mindset:
1. It’s all about them, not you. Patients are basically customers. Don’t you remember the old sales saying of “the customer is always right”. It’s easy to forget sometimes that there is a real person in front of you who has certain needs, which need to be addressed. This sometimes requires a shift of your mindset. We have to make sure we treat patients as people and make them feel listened to and comfortable.
2. Try to leave your issues and bad moods at home. How you present yourself is contagious. Good moods and bad moods rub off on your patients and can directly lead to a good or bad patient experience. If you are happy and warm, patients generally act the same. If you’re cold or visibly upset about something, many times this will lead to a crummy patient encounter. Remember, you’re here to serve the patient and make them feel comfortable, so if you can’t get yourself out of that bad mood, try faking it. That’s better than having some of those toxic feelings you’re harboring rub off on them. Be careful what you say and try not to come across as curt or abrasive. Aim for being considerate and courteous.
3. Make a connection. I try to teach my technologists about making a connection with the patient or making the patient feel comfortable. This dovetails with the last example and leads to an overall positive patient experience when done correctly. Try to take a few extra seconds with each patient and be present in the moment and personable. Put the cell phone down. Try greeting them in a nice way and asking about their day. These small acts of kindness add up and will lead to a better patient experience and likely lots of compliments about your work ethic to your department manager. WIN-WIN!
4. Use compassion. This is something that’s expected of us as we are in the medical field and it just makes sense and also happens to be the right thing to do. A few times at work, I have noticed that “compassion for the patient’s situation” was missing on some random days. Not entirely sure why, perhaps it was a busy schedule with lots of add-on CT’s from the ER. But for whatever reason, compassion and empathy are the goal and they do have a calming and even sometimes healing affect, not only on the patient, but on us as well. Making others feel good, makes you feel good. Making a conscious effort to be compassionate with your patients is important for their well-being and yours.
So I hope you enjoyed this short story and learned something about a patient focused mentality. What other types of strategies do you employ to put the patient first?
If you are looking for more information on this topic, I have a FREE course that not only will help prevent mistakes from happening at work, but will also help you practice in a patient first mindset and make you one of the most desirable technologists to work with at your institution. For instant access to my simple 2-Step System, just go to www.CTSuperTech.com
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