What is Bedside Manner? An Inside Perspective from Greg Duhon, MD

So much focus on patient care is put on the medical approach to disease prevention and treatment. Yet, as Dr. Gregory Duhon, MD, says, bedside manner has a significant impact on how patients recover as well as their overall well being.

When medical professionals practice proper bedside manner, they encourage transparency, make their patients feel more comfortable and even improve their own reputation and that of their practice.

Just like medical knowledge and skills can be built over time, so, too, can good bedside manner. Below, Dr. Gregory Duhon, MD, provides valuable insights into how healthcare professionals can provide a more holistic and supportive healing environment by practicing good bedside manner.

Cultivate Empathy

One of the most important aspects of bedside manner is cultivating empathy. Healthcare professionals need to be able to not just understand how their patients are feeling but share in those feelings as well.

The truth is that patients want to feel as though they are understood. They don’t want to feel as though they are being preached to, especially if what they're suffering from is in any way their own doing.

For example, patients who have had a heart attack due in part to being overweight are suffering enough as it is. If healthcare professionals make them feel shameful for the behaviors that led to the heart attack, they are more likely to feel sad or depressed -- which are both counterproductive to healing and changing habits.

This is why empathy is such an essential component of good bedside manner.

Communicate Clearly

There is a lot of complicated terminology in healthcare. And while healthcare professionals certainly know what it all means, many patients do not.

An underappreciated aspect of good bedside manner is clear communication from healthcare professional to patient. Part of that is communicating with patients on a level they can understand.

While it's important to use official medical terminology when speaking with patients, it's equally as important to put it in terms they can more easily understand. Something as simple as explaining that hypertension refers to high blood pressure, for instance, makes it easier for patients to connect with their healthcare providers.

Clear communication also means that healthcare professionals should always communicate in a way in which patients feel comfortable asking questions, or feel fine giving feedback or sharing information. Communication is a two-way street, after all.

Be Compassionate

Healthcare professionals who display compassion for their patients are often much more successful in helping patients achieve better outcomes. Dr. Gregory Duhon, MD, says that connecting with patients on an equal level is vital in many aspects of healthcare.

Compassion can be displayed in multiple ways. It includes not just the words you use when talking but also nonverbal cues you give, such as positive body language, constant eye contact and attentive posture.

Healthcare professionals have busy jobs, but patients should never feel that. When you are in their room, give them your utmost attention. By making them feel as though they're your first priority at that moment, you're more likely to receive the information you need from them, and they will be more likely to absorb what you have to say.

About Dr. Gregory Duhon, MD

Dr. Gregory Duhon, MD, is a standout in healthcare. His expertise in Internal Medicine and Hospitalist care shines, especially in critical areas like the ICU and emergency room. His compassion extends beyond medicine to volunteering for flood victims and those facing opioid addiction.

Dr. Duhon also dedicates himself to training for the Ironman, embraces travel to learn about global healthcare practices, indulges in gourmet cooking for holistic health, and cultivates exotic passion fruit with the same care he provides his patients. His journey is a dynamic blend of skills and passions.

This article was originally published in LA Weekly.