As a healthcare professional, you treat all kinds of patients. Some are very outgoing, while others are much more reserved. Caring for the latter is often more difficult, because they don’t always speak up and tell you everything that’s wrong.
Obviously, the more information you’re able to gather, the better the care you’re able to provide.
Here are four strategies to help you give the best possible care to your shy patients.
Get to Know Them By Asking Questions
Chatty patients will open up and tell you about themselves with minimal — or no — prompting. Since shy patients don’t work that way, you need ask questions to get them talking. Break the ice by starting with surface level questions — i.e., “What do you do for a living?” This will help them become more comfortable with you, so they’ll open up more about their health issues.
Offer to Help
Shy patients have the same needs as their more outgoing counterparts, but they’re often unwilling to speak up. Help them out by anticipating their needs and offering to assist. For example, if you think a patient might be hungry, ask if they’d like a snack. They’ll be grateful you stepped in, and this will help them warm up to you.
You’re friendly to all your patients, but try to take it up a notch even further with the shy ones. Smile big every time you enter their room and speak to them in a warm, gentle tone. This will help them relax and feel more at ease with your care. After all, it’s hard to be shy around someone with a friendly and inviting personality.
Give Them Time to Warm Up to You
Outgoing patients might immediately feel comfortable with you, but shy people need more time. You can’t expect them to open up as soon as they meet you, so don’t get discouraged and give up. Keep trying to win them over and they’ll let you in when they’re ready. If you try to rush them, they’ll just close themselves off and you’ll never bond with them.
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