Article Date: 6/1/2011

Creating Credibility
From the AOSA

Creating Credibility

By Vicky Wong, AOSA Secretary, NOVA

As student doctors, we all have stories of those patients (the ones who second guess your diagnosis based on what they've learned from Google). Then the attending comes into the room, explains the same exact scenario and the patient enthusiastically nods and agrees! Why does this happen and what can we to do make our explanations sound credible?

Eye contact, a smile and a simple handshake go a long way toward building confidence, says Gale Stoner of The Vision Care Institute in Jacksonville, Fla., where he educates students on the importance of first impressions.

Outlining the treatment and management plan step by step will prevent patients from being overwhelmed when the attending enters the room to explain further.

Remaining calm under pressure by being direct with patients will help convey a professional demeanor.

Allowing patients sufficient time to reflect on what you've told them or ask for clarification will help them feel at ease.

It's also a good idea to let patients know there may be an “adjustment period” for their new prescription, and have staff remind them of this when they receive their new eyeglasses. It's better for patients to think, “oh, the doctor mentioned it would take a few days to adjust” than to think “I wonder why my doctor didn't warn me about this!”

When you're alone in the exam room with your patient, you're the one with the education and experience. You have the white coat and formal training. Balance assertiveness with sincerity, keep a positive attitude and always maintain confidence in yourself. nOD

Optometric Management, Issue: June 2011