Conversations with patients go on all day—every day of every week of every year. It’s hard to name anything more ordinary in an urgent care center. It’s important to remember this is not the case for the patient, however. Especially in urgent care, it’s likely that if a patient came in to see you their day is anything but ordinary. Many may see any provider at all once a year, at most. So, those interactions likely take on far greater importance. With that in mind, Medical Economics suggested a list of seven things a provider should never say to a patient. Some should be common sense (“I’m running late today so let’s get right to it”) while others may depend on context or the particular patient you’re talking to (“Do you understand?”). One stood out as particularly relevant to urgent care, however; saying “You need to calm down!” to a patient is unlikely to enhance the encounter or increase the prospects for a positive outcome and good reviews online. In fact, as the piece points out, it’s likely to have the opposite effect. Instead, the author suggests, when dealing with an agitated patient “the best approach is to give the patient time to calm down, show the patient you take them seriously, and acknowledge the source of their anger.” The Med Ec piece is a good starting point, but it’s not specific to urgent care. For suggestions that are, read Dealing with Angry Urgent Care Patients in our archive.
Some Things May Be Better Left Unsaid—Especially to the Patient