Healthcare News & Insights

19 words that’ll make patients like you more

All hospital administrators know that payment is being tied to patient satisfaction. So if you want staff to make a better first impression and engender positive feelings, have them focus on what they say, as well as what they do.  79071465

While how you dress is important in most work environments, with hospitals it’s not as important because doctors and nurses wear uniforms (lab coats, scrubs, etc.).

If you want your medical professionals to make a good first impression that’ll leave a lasting positive impression, have them concentrate on what they say. Often what’s said makes a greater early impression than what’s done, wrote Bill Murphy, Jr., in an article on Inc.

To take advantage of that here are 19 words grouped into a handful of easy phrases Murphy believes everyone, including medical professionals, should make a habit of saying. According to Murphy, they’re virtually guaranteed to improve your standing with others if you use them often enough.

Words No. 1 and 2: Sir and ma’am

Let’s face it, American culture is pretty informal compared to many other places in the world. And a little bit of formality can really make people stand out in a positive way. Calling a patient sir or ma’am probably isn’t going to work in the hospital setting. But using Mr., Mrs., Ms. and Miss will work and shows respect that gets people’s attention. This is important in a professional relationships, especially when dealing with people you don’t know well and who are older. Let them tell you what you should call them.

Words No. 3 and 4: You’re welcome

What happened to good old fashioned manners? They should never go out of style. But it seems that in recent history people stopped saying, “You’re welcome,” and started substituting, “Yep” or “No problem.” Why is this a problem? Because ditching “you’re welcome” for these other phrases changes the message, states Murphy. “You’re welcome” acknowledges that you’ve done something worth someone else’s thanks, while “no problem” suggests that it wasn’t that big of a deal. And as a medical professional what you do is a big deal to someone who is ill, so it’s just nice to acknowledge their thanks for something that was worth doing — taking care of them. That’s an impressive message to send.

Words No. 5 to 7: Here’s what’s happening

There’s nothing worse than being in the hospital and not knowing what’s going on with your own care. So encourage your doctors, nurses and therapists to share information. Even if they don’t know the full story, sharing the information they have that affects the patient can make them instantly more likable.

Words No. 8 to 11: How can I help?

Especially for nurses who are in contact with patients on a regular basis, asking “How can I help?” when a patient pushes a call button shows they care. And most patients are very grateful to those who proactively help them. Plus many patients can’t do things or get things on their own, they have to rely on their medical professionals, especially nurses. Helping patients fulfill their needs can really have a positive impact on them.

Words No. 12 to 15: I’ll find out

This is one of Murphy’s favorite phrases. It’s related to “how can I help,” but it’s even more proactive. It says not only are you willing to offer assistance, but that you’re willing to go out of your way to do so. And for patients who often feel kept in the dark, it can be a lifesaver to them and endear you to them.

Words No. 16 to 19: I believe in you

Murphy wrote, “Henry Ford recalled that when he was still an unknown, and was working on gasoline engines, a few short words of encouragement from an already famous Thomas Edison were a massive shot in the arm.” Especially for therapists, this phrase can work wonders. It’s amazing how just a little bit of validation from someone patients respect and look up to can inspire them to work harder and achieve more — very important in the medical universe of improved outcomes at a reduced costs. This is also an important phrases for those who are doing the discharging of patients, to tell patients they believe in them when it comes to taking care of themselves at home and following through on any discharge therapy or care. Just think, four words can have a huge, positive impact on patients and their feelings toward their caregivers.

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