Bilateral empathy lowers patient expectations

Generally speaking, patients and physicians are working towards good health. While many patient expectations can be unreasonable, others are practical; this article amalgamates them. Can you identify the absurd demands?

But multiply half of the listed expectations by hundreds or thousands of patients, and we begin to understand why there is such a high rate of physician burnout. Bilateral empathy lowers expectations.

Bedside manner. Don’t accept a walk-in patient and leave us waiting an extra 20 minutes. Greet us with a smile, even if a recent patient succumbed to illness. Don’t be afraid to touch us because we have diseases. Don’t touch us until you scrub in. Sanitize your stethoscope before pressing it to our skin. Don’t ask us the same questions the nurse asked 5 minutes ago. Don’t assume anything we said to the nurse is the real purpose for our visit. Don’t rattle off a long list of questions while gazing at a computer display. Don’t lead us to believe you will research answers to our problems with no intention of doing anything until our follow-up appointment a month later.

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