It’s the one of the great ironies of the medical profession that despite the years of study, long hours in the clinic or hospital, and the constant need to stay on top of the latest medical developments, the one thing medicine really doesn’t properly equip doctors to do is interact with people. Aside from encouraging a certain amount of professional detachment, there are no extensive courses in bedside manner, in engaging with patients, or even learning how to work other staff members in a smooth, effective way. In the great rush to emphasize good grades and precise medical technique, people skills fall by the wayside, despite the fact that the focus of the profession is helping people.
It’s another one of those skills that medical practitioners need to pick up on the job, or cultivate on their own in some other fashion. And people skills are incredibly important to have. They can mean the difference between sending a patient off with a relieved state of mind, or leaving them with lingering doubts that can affect them for the remainder of their treatment.
This is why doctors should spend time with patients, really interacting with them, empathizing with them, and ultimately seeing them as people. It’s important for doctors to be able to professionally, compassionately focus on patients, and ultimately it benefits the patient and the facility.
It’s also one of the reasons why Medical Scribes are so effective in clinics and EDs. By taking on the role of data collection and organization, the Scribe frees the doctor to concentrate on the two most important things; diagnosing a patient, and interacting with the patient. There’s no longer a need to divide time during a consultation between really listening to what a patient is trying to say, and making sure all the appropriate medical information is being noted for EHR purposes.
Doctors should take advantage of the flexibility a Medical Scribe provides and take the time to concentrate not just on examining patients, but interacting with them. By seeing the patients as people in need of help, it can ground a busy day, reminding everyone involved that this isn’t just about processing prescriptions, that there are people in need of help, who are grateful for the treatment they receive. And it reminds the doctors that they are part of a medical team and a general community, not just working thanklessly and alone at an endless revolving door.