Last Updated 27 Jan 2021

Dealing with a Difficult Patient

Essay type Research
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Regardless of what professional field you are working in these tips could be helpful to you; because any job you get you will always be around other people so you should know how to control a bad situation. The physicians say that 15% of their encounters with patients are rated as difficult. When dealing with a “difficult” patient you must recognize the signs of anger, know what you should do so the situation doesn’t escalate, and get down to the root of the problem with the patient.

The first step in dealing with an angry patient is recognizing the signs of anger, knowing the physical, verbal, and characteristics of a patient who is more likely to have an outburst. Clenching fists, fidgeting, breathing rapidly, tense posture, and tightening of the jaw are some of the easiest physical signs to look for. If you recognize these signs try to get to the root of the problem before things escalate to the verbal clues. Verbal signs may be raising his voice, yelling, saying mean or rude things to you; try to stay calm and not yell back let him vent his anger then try to resolve the situation.

Patients that have problems with depression, anxiety, go into defense mode, being resistant with you, or their attitude may change from being happy and talkative to being quiet and short; these are the patients to watch for. Anger problems, stress, or anxiety can cause someone to be edgy when they get bad news or news that they do not agree with. Always remember, “Some people don’t like not having control over a situation. ” (Forest, 2012) When someone is having health problems or they get bad news from the doctor they are more likely to get angry, although you cannot control what happens with your health; you can control how to handle it.

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There are many things that could cause a patient to get angry such as diagnosis, treatment, or even personal problems in the past or the present. A patient’s diagnosis can cause them to lose control if they hear they may lose their mobility, their symptoms have gotten worse, or losing their independence. Nobody wants to hear they are sick or that bad things could happen and when they do hear those things its triggers a negative emotion in them.

Issues with their treatments may also be a trigger for anger if their treatment isn’t working how they think it should, the doctor changes their treatment, or they want to start treatment immediately but physically it isn’t possible; patients want things done how they want them and if it’s not done in that way it can erupt into a verbal altercation. Personal issues such as being abused as a child, growing up in a dysfunctional family, or losing someone close to them to an illness can cause people not to trust doctors and nurses.

Personality disorders, strong emotions, having extreme behavior, or returning frequently with troubling problems are also signs that they could be a “difficult” patient. You have to recognize the signs of things that could trigger someone to get angry and prepare yourself in case things do get out of hand in those situations. As a professional in the medical field you must learn how to correctly deal with a situation if it gets out of hand, you have to listen, know how to handle your own temper, and learn the correct things to say so you don’t make the situation escalate even further.

You have to listen to their words to try to get down to the root of the problem and don’t interrupt or ignore what they are saying. Ask them what they think will help fix the problem. (HPSC, 2012) Asking their solution shows that you care what they are saying so that’s a good way to go about calming them down. To ensure that the encounter isn’t going to escalate never show your angry, keep your hands down at your sides, keep some distance, maintain eye contact, and always be professional; the moment you lose control they will realize it.

When you’re talking to them m ake sure he knows that you understand by saying something like “I understand you concerns but.. ,” also call him by name it shows respect. Another thing you can do is explain his treatment in detail so you know he understands the problem and maybe that will even give him his solution. You can try to control the outcome of the situation by your actions and words; you just have to learn the correct way of going about it.

While working in an office setting you will encounter patients that don’t agree with what you may say or do; but you have to learn how to manage the situation in a professional manner, without letting your anger get involved. You have to be the stronger person and say sir what can I do to make this experience better for you? You have to talk calmly and know the correct words to say to make sure the conflict can be resolved. If you have too many issues you may have to call in someone else to intervene; which in some cases is the smart thing to do.

Dealing with a Difficult Patient essay

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Dealing with a Difficult Patient. (2016, Dec 28). Retrieved from

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