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10 Easy Ways to Improve Your Bedside Manner

2009 Chemist & Druggist, Yellowbrix

9. Choose Words Carefully

Try to be positive rather than negative. Avoid too much medical jargon. This will hopefully prevent the patient from becoming overly concerned. For example, it is far better to say “everything is fine” than “there’s nothing wrong” or “there’s not a problem”, because although the phrases may be identical in meaning, the patient will be fixate on negative words such as “problem” or “wrong”. Likewise when warning a patient of a potentially dangerous side effect you need to make sure they are aware of when to seek help without alarming them. Saying it is “important” to go to the doctor if they feel unwell is better than using words such as “emergency”, “dangerous” or “severe”.

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