While knowledge and competence are essential components to a successful career in the medical field, the ability of professionals to provide patient-centric care is also critical. According to an Institute of Medicine (IOM) study, patient-centric care received high marks for safety and quality.
To promote more patient-centric care and education in your classes, it’s essential to view yourself through the eyes of your students, being mindful of your approachability and openness to classroom discussion. Below are some tips to help foster rapport with your students and create positive interactions during your classes, central aspects for providing a patient-centric experience.
- Have a positive and compassionate attitude. Your approach goes a long way in enabling students to feel at ease. Imagining that each individual is a close friend or family member can significantly help you to do this — even on difficult days.
- Address each individual by name and make eye contact. This will help you make greater person-to-person connections and make each student feel like they matter, rather than feeling like a “number.”
- Be an active listener. Give your undivided attention and practice really listening to what your students are saying to be able to better serve them. This includes paying attention to what isn’t said — nonverbal cues can fill in the gaps and provide you a complete picture.
- Get to know your patients and students on a personal level. By taking the time to learn about their jobs, hobbies, or other interests, you show that behind the accomplished professional is also a person who cares about them.
- Ask open-ended questions in class. You will gain more insight into your students' specific needs by doing so. The answers to open-ended questions will give you better information, allowing you to address the true concerns of your students.
- After asking a question, take a pause. Pausing for about five to 10 seconds after asking a question may mean not taking an answer from the first person to raise their hand. This will encourage participation from more students, especially those who need time to process information and formulate their answers.
- At the beginning of each new class, have your students write up to five questions they want to be answered by the time the course is finished. Share the questions in a class discussion and use them to help you address the unique needs and concerns of your students throughout the course.
Once you start using these tips, you’ll notice a difference in both the interactions that take place in your classes, as well as your individual relationships with your students. Everyone is sure to benefit!