It’s expected that patients are not at their best when they enter an urgent care center. Clearly they’re not feeling well in one way or another. That’s probably compounded by the fact that they couldn’t get in to see their “regular” doctor—and the overall stresses of having to be around other sick people in the midst of a deadly pandemic. Tempers may be short. You and your team can’t afford to respond in a like fashion, however, if you’re going to provide excellent care that leaves patients feeling satisfied with their experience. An article recently published by MedPage explores ways to deal with patients who could be surly or unreasonable without getting into shouting match. One readily accessible idea is to make the most of your time away from work; indulge in guilty pleasures like watching a favorite reality show or goofy movie, or making a favorite meal. Even taking a 5-minute breather during a shift can help. In terms of responding to patient complaints, it might be helpful to memorize a “script” of ways to respond to their complaints; empathizing with their frustrations can go a long way to defusing feelings sparked by isolation. Above all else, recognize that whatever the patient says isn’t personal; they don’t know you, and whatever untoward comments they might make are really directed at the difficult situation we’re all living in. Be aware, also, that burnout can be one of the consequences of failing to practice self-care. JUCM published an article that offers good tips on how to prevent that. Recognizing and Preventing Provider Burnout in Urgent Care is available in our archive now.
Some Patients May Be Losing Their Cool; Help Your Team Keep Theirs