You may find your bedside manner is pretty terrible given how busy you are and your general frustration with humanity as a whole. If despite these things, you still feel like you’re establishing too much rapport with your patients, here are some helpful methods to really worsen those interpersonal skills and make that patient-provider relationship way more distant.
Barge in unexpectedly and leave just as fast.
Don’t knock. Just bust the door open and get in there, time is a-ticking! Don’t introduce yourself. Go right into talking shop and then be on your way.
Do not know your patient well.
Get your patient’s name wrong when you enter. Who has the time to look something like that up? “You’re not Mrs. Brown? Are you sure? I’m pretty sure you’re Mrs. Brown.”
Look like a raging hot mess.
Never sit down to talk eye-to-eye.
Always tower above your patients at bedside. This is important. Take advantage of their vulnerability by standing tall and talking down on them. You are in charge. This is not a team effort.
Be distracted, very distracted.
You are being pulled in millions of directions; act that way! Keep looking at your smartphone, notes, pager. Tap your feet. Click your pen repeatedly. Keep looking at your watch. Pace nervously. Let your patient know you have other things to do. Lose focus and lose it fast.
Do not listen. Really.
Listening, good listening really takes some time and patience. Since you don’t have the luxury of either, don’t bother.
Don’t observe anything.
A patient’s conversational tone, degree of eye contact, and body language can tell you plenty. That’s too bad. But that’s the sacrifice we make when charting is our first and foremost priority!
Never use open-ended questions.
Open-ended questions allow patients to talk for a longer period of time. Unacceptable. A good starting question is, “Do you have a way home?”
Be vague and use big medical words to impress them.
Say something like, “This could be anything, but we’ll take it one step at a time.” Then impress them with your array of unpronounceable and equally unspellable polysyllabic medical terminology. You’re a medical professional, damn it! Go put on a show! They can just look it up on Google or WebMD anyway. (We like the term dysdiadochokinesia.)
Privacy is overrated.
We all like some good gossip at work. Talk loudly, keep the door open, or even better, have your “private” conversations in public settings. Invite anyone to the conversation, including those not involved in the patient’s care.
Show no signs of being human.
It’s easy to forget that you’re a volume-based, revenue-generating, emotionless, disease-processing machine! As any hospital administrator will tell you, compassion, caring, patience, and sympathy are signs of weakness. Show no interest at all costs!
Dr. 99 wrote this article while at a patient’s bedside.