One of the most important elements of any interaction with a patient is an empathic recognition that they are an individual person. This acknowledgment usually starts the process of developing trust with each patient. Medical assistants can forge bonds of trust that help improve the health of patients and enhance the overall care provided at their healthcare workplace.
Learn better communication skills and other techniques for developing patient trust in a medical assistant program. Prism Career Institute offers training in Cherry Hill, NJ, West Atlantic City Township, NJ, and Philadelphia, PA, to provide quality patient care in its medical assistant program. In this blog post, we explain how medical assistants earn the trust of the patients who are counting on them.
The Importance of Trust in the Patient-Medical Assistant Relationship
Medical assistants can perform their duties much more effectively when there is at least a small level of trust between them and their patients. For example, it’s much easier to physically position a patient for an exam if that patient is treated with gentle respect. Receiving healthcare, whether it is a routine examination or a pre-surgical conference, is an emotional experience for most patients. They may feel less powerful than their healthcare provider and office staff — including the medical assistant. This can result in an uncomfortable vulnerability, which might present as increased anxiety, nervousness, extra sensitivity, and an inability to listen well, or process information.
Interactive communication is fundamental to treating illnesses and preventative care. Patients must be able to hear information, understand instructions, and ask questions. And healthcare professionals must listen to their patients, encouraging them to share personal details about their health, and answer screening questions truthfully. Part of the medical assistant responsibilities, as important as updating the electronic health record or taking blood pressure readings, is listening to the patient. While they wait to meet with the physician or nurse practitioner, they may share health concerns. Only when the medical assistant is receptive and focused on the patient can this valuable information be relayed to the medical team.
Techniques for Medical Assistants to Build Trust With Patients
By enrolling in a medical assistant program, students learn a variety of techniques and mindsets to help build patient trust. There is a focus on communication skills, as well. Through classroom training, learning laboratories, and the robust externship program at Prism Career Institute, medical assistant trainees gain knowledge, practice, mentorship, and practical experience that helps them solidify these skills. Students in the medical assistant program are encouraged to develop the following attributes during patient interactions:
- Act with integrity and empathy
- Attend to body language, make eye contact and don’t cross the arms across the body or turn away
- Modulate tone of voice
- Practice friendliness, politeness, and kindness
- Project calmness and confidence
- Refrain from making judgments or criticisms
Better Communication Between Medical Assistants and Patients
Communication techniques are crucial to effective medical care. Medical assistants are often the first person with whom patients speak and that sets the tone for the rest of their visit. How the patient reacts to the medical assistant can affect their impression of the healthcare operation in general.
The U.S. population continues to age, and this may pose communication challenges in some instances. Older patients must retain their dignity in the healthcare setting to encourage honest information exchange. For example, patients may be shy or embarrassed when discussing their bodies or asking questions about the aging process. But the only way to provide excellent treatment and care is to be a good sounding board and to truly hear these patients.
Within an excellent medical assistant program, students gain experience with multiple communication styles and practice the following:
- Listen actively, providing full attention to patient
- Speak slowly, using short sentences
- Ask open-ended questions
- Sit down next to the patient if appropriate
- Take time for questions and answers
- Encourage patients to write down information, or provide written materials
- Adapt techniques to individual patients, pay attention to how they are reacting to small talk, or if discomfort is interfering with their understanding
Learn How to Build Patient Trust in Our Medical Assistant Program
Help patients become more committed to their own health through your example of listening, accepting their statements without judgment, and providing truthful helpful information. When medical assistants perform at a high level and take their responsibilities seriously, they connect with patients, provide useful information for the medical team, and promote the excellence of the healthcare enterprise. The ability to build trust with patients begins with training in an accredited medical assistant program. If you want to learn more about this fulfilling career or about our programs in Cherry Hill and West Atlantic City, NJ, and Philadelphia, PA, contact us at Prism Career Institute today.