All of us, including our patients, want to be heard. We value relationships with people who really listen.
And letting patients know that you see them as people goes a long way. For example, a patient would much rather be known as the proud grandmother who grows dahlias than as the 62-year-old female with mild hypertension and arthritis.
Patients also value relationships in which their self-esteem is validated. That doesn’t mean giving compliments; rather, it means validating patients’ self-esteem by inviting their ideas about the health issues you are discussing. Even if patients don’t have anything more to contribute, the act of asking for their thoughts is a huge deposit in the relationship account.