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Patient Essentials: We have the time

By Dustin Silhan PT ScD COMT

This is a saying we like to use in the clinic where I work – a hospital-based outpatient facility. The concept attempts to place the focus on service to the patient, making them the focal point, and taking the extra step to go above and beyond meeting their needs. Though this concept may not ring true for all professions or disciplines, it does for us – and maybe more so than any other profession in healthcare.

When was the last time you spent 30 minutes to an hour with your doctor, dentist, PA, or Nurse Practitioner? Never for me… And we get to do this 2-3 times per week with our patients. In light of this, the patient-practitioner relationship is a vital aspect of the patient’s experience and outcomes.

Why? Because of trust.

I always highlight this aspect of care to my students. I tell them, “you can have all the knowledge and manual skills humanly possible, but if you don’t have that rapport with your patients, you will not have their trust.” Without this trust, our patient’s outcomes and our sanity will suffer. They will be less likely to be consistent in their attendance or follow through with their home programs.

Let’s take advantage of this time we have with our patients, and make a greater effort to invest in this relationship. I think we as individual clinicians and our profession would benefit greatly.

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