Can a doctor end a patient relationship

Doctor-patient relationship: a matter of respect!

Five tips for treating patients with care and appreciation

Empathetic: Doctors who hold patient discussions with appreciation have a good chance of being accepted by the patient as credible problem solvers. Photo: picture alliance

Treat the patient with respect! A standard requirement of patient-oriented behavior - which, however, is not always easy to implement in everyday life. There are behaviors the doctor can use to meet the demand for respect.

Tip 1

Raise awareness of “disrespectful” situations

Stress, hectic rush, excitement, little time, the next accident patient, having to be in two or three places at the same time, answering several patient, colleague and employee questions: There are many situations in everyday hospital and practice that are especially younger and not yet as experienced Doctors mislead them into using their expert status on patients. Then concerns that are of existential importance for the patient are answered roughly, succinctly and harshly - or not at all. Without wanting to, without malicious intent, the doctor fails to show the necessary respect due to the stressful situation.

Prof. Dr. med. Bernhard Brehm, chief physician for internal medicine, Marienhof Koblenz, therefore recommends: “The doctor should make himself aware that it is precisely these situations in which he could offend a patient, that is, make himself aware of them. Then there is the possibility that he says to himself: 'Stop, I must not present myself as an omniscient expert who has no time for the patient's concerns.' "

Tip 2

Slip into the role of the patient

Respectful interaction becomes particularly challenging when the patient makes it difficult for the doctor to treat him with appreciation. This is the case, for example, if the patient does not adhere to the necessary therapeutic measures or accuses the doctor of treating him negligently.

To act appreciatively in this delicate situation requires a high level of empathic competence: "How do I show the difficult patient the appropriate respect, even if I would like to end the conversation because of his behavior?" It helps to get into the role of the patient and to ask from his perspective why he behaves this way and not differently. “The doctor is at eye level with the patient,” explains Brehm. “For example, he comes to the conclusion that the patient is afraid of the upcoming operation / intervention and therefore behaves somewhat hesitantly. The doctor can then communicate more respectfully and appreciatively with the patient and act in order to alleviate the fears in order to build a bridge for the patient for the therapeutic therapy. "

Tip 3

Enter the patient's emotional world

That "to be at eye level" is a tried and tested means for the doctor to generally adopt a respectful and appreciative attitude when dealing with the patient. If he manages to put himself in his emotional world, he can listen to him better because he knows that he is exposed to a stressful situation. Probably every doctor was and still is a patient - this thought may enable him to understand the emotions that his patient is currently going through.

The big advantage: Above all, patients want a doctor who listens to them, who takes them seriously, who empathizes with what they are going through. And then they feel truly treated with respect.

Of course: It is not possible to share the emotional world with every patient. That would be too much of a burden for the doctor and would probably overwhelm him. But maybe he'll find the happy medium and be able to show some level of compassion.

Tip 4

Establish rules of respect

There are other behaviors and principles that help you treat other people with respect. Brehm takes the view: “If you want to communicate respectfully with the patient, you have to invest time for it. Asking questions, listening, giving feedback, trying to understand the patient - it takes time. And even if it is difficult in hectic everyday life: Wherever possible, a doctor should take the time to get involved with the patient. "

This means that the doctor should go to a quiet area, such as a room in which an undisturbed conversation is possible, especially when it comes to sensitive and difficult topics of conversation with the patient. A message, especially bad, to be delivered “between the door and the hinge” or in the presence of other patients is rightly viewed by the patient as disrespectful behavior.

Tip 5

Train respectful interaction and question the image of man

Respectful interaction can be trained in a team: By treating each other with appreciation and also showing this appreciation to employees, nurses and carers, they build the sensitivity and competence to show this respect in patient contact.

Doctors who conduct patient discussions with ethically legitimate principles as well as respect and appreciation have a good chance of being perceived by the patient as credible problem solvers. However: Anyone who is fundamentally suspicious of other people in terms of their personality structure and has a negative image of human beings, i.e. who always assumes that the other is trying to harm them, can hardly adopt a respectful attitude. That is why the doctor should, if necessary, question his view of man and examine the extent to which it is necessary to make changes here. Brehm sums it up as follows: “The person who changes changes not only for himself, but also for others. And then he is shown much more appreciation and respect himself. "

Patric P. Kutscher
MasterClass Education, Zellertal