Many students spend a lot of time focusing on learning medical conditions, memorizing anatomy and making sure they know what each and every drug out there does. While all this knowledge is certainly a big part of being a great doctor or nurse, the personal element that you are able to provide to your patients can be what truly makes your work fulfilling and successful.
For students new to working with patients, developing a personal rapport with patients can be awkward and stressful as you may be unsure of your treatment decisions at times and still learning how to properly do procedures. Yet as you become better at doing these clinical aspects of your job, you should work just as hard at learning how to talk with and relate to your patients. Why you ask? Well there are a few great benefits to having above average bedside manner.
First, patients who feel more comfortable talking with their nurse or doctor will be more willing to share their feelings and to reveal information about their conditions, medical history and any other relevant information. If you make it hard for patients to talk to you then you're really make it hard to do your own job-- something neither you or the patients want. Developing interpersonal communication skills may not be easy for everyone, but it's a big part of helping you gather the information and understand the patients you'll be working with.
On a more personal level, being able to connect with patients can be a big part of what makes it so great to be a doctor or nurse. It's great to hear about patients who have made a recovery or overcome an illness, but it's even better when you know those patients on a more personal level and understand the struggles they've been through. While it can be tough to develop these connections when patients are gravely ill and may not survive, there is still comfort in knowing you were supportive and helpful to them in their palliative care and provided more than simple medication and treatment.
Professionals in all areas of medical care certainly need to know their stuff when it comes to drugs, diseases, treatments and emergency care, but they also need to know how to talk to patients and develop a bond of trust with those they care for. It might not always be easy, but having great bedside manner can help patients heal faster, feel more comfortable and leave your medical facility feeling like they have been treated well both physically and mentally. After all, making people feel better is what being in the medical profession is all about.