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Reasons empathy is critical for working in healthcare

Healthcare workers must learn empathy towards their patients to facilitate them in the best way possible. Empathy is all about understanding another individual’s feelings. To be empathetic, you must put yourself in another person’s shoes and see things from their point of view. Although doctors should be objective and rational in their decisions, being empathic can help make better-informed choices. At times, some doctors do not realize how overwhelmed patients can get while listening to their diagnosis.

A patient’s fear, anxiety, or stress can significantly affect their treatment process and decision-making abilities. If they are uncomfortable or uneasy with their treatment, their body can react the same way. It can show up through a rejection of medication or other treatment alternatives. If healthcare workers want to provide top-quality care to their patients, they must learn empathy. They need to know the importance of understanding patients’ emotions and facilitating them accordingly. Below we talk about five reasons empathy is critical for working in healthcare.

  1. Improves Patient Outcomes

Empathy undoubtedly improves patient outcomes. Numerous studies show that patients who witness empathy in their doctors usually tend to improve faster with less severe symptoms. Many patients feel distressed when visiting their healthcare providers, no matter how big or small the problem. They also usually do not fully open up to their doctors about their worries and stay anxious during treatments. Lack of communication skills and inability to trust the care provider can play a role in creating this gap. That’s where health counseling specialists come in.

Some doctors and healthcare workers opt for an online masters in mental health counseling to advance their expertise in the field and provide holistic care. When a doctor treats a patient with compassion and empathy, the patient feels safe. It will make them have faith in the doctor’s ability and work. Not only this, but it will also make them feel more secure about the treatment, lessening their stress and worries, leading to better clinical outcomes.

  1. Builds Trust

Having your patients trust you is essential in having a strong patient-practitioner relationship. Your patients will trust you if you show compassion, respect, and empathy towards them. You must show them that you know and understand the difficulties they are going through. Patients will feel safe and at ease with you this way. Trust is essential in making your patients listen to you and your recommendations.  

Many patients get scared when agreeing to go through a complex surgery. Many won’t consent to it. However, if the patient trusts their doctor, they will be more likely to accept their recommendations. They will also feel at ease in their decision. When patients trust their healthcare providers, they are unlikely to go somewhere else for their medical needs.

  1. Higher Patient Compliance

When patients feel a connection with their healthcare providers, they are likely to comply with the given orders. If patients see that their healthcare provider understands their feelings, they will automatically listen to them and do as they say. If their doctor did not show empathy, patients would feel uncertain about recommended medication or undergoing a procedure. In many cases, they would not observe patient compliance at all.

Listening to doctors’ orders might seem like an obvious thing. However, patients that do not have a good experience with doctors may be hard to convince. They will wonder time and time again if this is the best procedure or something else might be better. It can create lapses in provided care and change the trajectory of a patient’s treatment plans.

  1. Enables Better Communication

Patients often hide valuable information from their doctors. They may be uncomfortable or may feel judged. In doing so, they miss out on communicating the true extent of their symptoms and concerns.

It is crucial to have effective patient-practitioner communication so that no information is left unsaid. Patients will only be transparent if they feel comfortable enough to confide in you. Listen to them with an empathetic ear, without judging or ridiculing them. Showing empathy towards their concerns will automatically lead to open and transparent communication, helping the patient become more aware of their condition.

  1. Increases Patient Satisfaction

Going through medical procedures is never easy. Patients undergo extreme stress, pain, and vulnerability. It makes the person incredibly weak and is a horrible experience. However, if healthcare providers support their patients through such times, a terrible experience can become a better one.

Like any other service, you want your customer to leave feeling satisfied. If healthcare workers are empathetic towards their patients, it will directly lead to a positive patient experience. They will leave feeling satisfied just because their healthcare providers cared for them.

Conclusion

Showing empathy is crucial when working in the healthcare sector. It improves patient outcomes, satisfaction, and compliance. However, empathy goes beyond just diagnosis or treatment. It is about building a connection with your patients. Showing compassion will make patients trust you, lower their anxiety, and improve their overall health. Not only this, but being empathetic brings a sense of humanism in the healthcare sector.

Written by Jayden Woods

Jayden is a guest post editor and part time contributor at Life Hack Solution.