As an allied health professional, there are probably things patients say to you that really grind your gears. Maybe it’s when they try to guess their diagnosis because of what they’ve found on WebMD, or when they assume you know everything there is to know about medicine. Either way, it can be frustrating. On the other hand, there are also certain things to never say to a patient as an allied health professional. Communication with patients is arguably just as important as the treatment you’re providing. So, maintain that good communication by avoiding saying these phrases to your patients.
7 Things to Never Say to a Patient as an Allied Health Professional
1. “This Won’t Hurt at All!”
It’s true that patients prefer to experience as little pain as possible during a medical treatment. However, the fact of the matter is, some treatments that allied health workers perform will be somewhat painful or uncomfortable. It’s important to be upfront and honest with your patients about a medical procedure. Do NOT tell them that something “won’t hurt at all” when you know that it probably will. This is a flat out lie and could damage the trust in your relationship with the patient. Instead, tell your patients that a treatment may cause some pain or discomfort, but you will try your best to minimize it as best you can.
2. “I Know How You Feel.”
Unless you have actually been through the same condition or treatment as your patient, there’s no way for you to know exactly how they feel. Healthcare professionals sometimes say this to patients in order to offer comfort or consolation. While the good intentions are there, saying these things could potentially insult your patient or make them feel like you’re belittling their experience.
3. “It Probably Isn’t Serious.”
This phrase is one of the most important things to never say to a patient. You might think that a patient’s condition isn’t anything serious, but you can’t predict the future. Even though you may want to say this to ease your patient’s worries, you may not know the full extent of the patient’s condition. Avoid making premature statements about a patient’s diagnosis, or you may risk losing the patient’s trust.
4. “We’re Just Very Busy Today.”
No matter the circumstances, a patient never wants to hear this phrase. If they’ve been waiting patiently for their scheduled appointment time, the last thing they want to be told is that they need to wait. Patients have their own busy schedules, so hearing this statement may irritate them. Instead, apologize for the delay and give an estimated wait time if possible.
5. “I Can’t Seem to Find Your Chart.”
It’s essential to be truthful with your patients, but no patient wants to hear that their records have gone missing. Telling a patient that you can’t find their chart could very well destroy the professionalism you have with that patient. Not only will this statement affect you, but it could also make your whole organization or practice seem disorganized and unprofessional. Keep your records well-organized to improve patient satisfaction!
6. “It Could Be Worse!”
No need to tell a patient that their situation could be worse; they already know that! No matter their condition, it could always be worse. Besides, patients probably aren’t focusing on how much worse their situation could be, they’re probably thinking about their diagnosis and prognosis.
Many of us will naturally say “whoops” after we’ve made a mistake. However, saying this in front of a patient is never okay. Patients are trusting you with their health, and hearing you say “oops” will only lead to fear and panic. However, if you have indeed made a mistake, inform the patient in a professional way.
While most of these statements won’t have a substantial effect on a patient’s health, they could leave patients feeling uneasy, worried, or dissatisfied. Do you know any other things to never say to a patient? Share them with us in the comments section below!