Not long ago I went to my dentist for a major bit of dental work.
When my dentist greeted me chair side she remarked, “So this is your big day.” And it was actually. A problem that had been an issue for some weeks was coming to a resolution. We chatted for a bit and she got to work.
This idea of recognizing the magnitude of my visit stuck with me. It was a powerful show of empathy because it acknowledged what I was feeling at that moment despite the fact that there were other patients just like me coming and going that morning. There are so many things that we do as health professionals that are routine yet we forget that they are far from the routine of the person to whom they’re done.
Empathy and encounter by design
I’m applying this myself on a regular basis. I look for unique ways to recognize how significant a routine procedure can be to the families and kids I work with. I look at my introductions and greetings with more intent. It’s language and encounter by design.
Watching how we’re treated when in good hands is one of the best ways to learn how to treat.
My dentist is Carrie Muzny in The Woodlands, TX. Highly recommended, as you might expect.
If you like this you might like Leaning In to Patient Experience, Patient Experience and the Art of Visiting, or The Exam Room Door.