Bedside Manner



Making my morning hospital rounds, I enter the room of Mrs Williams. She is in bed with the head of the bed elevated. After talking to her and evaluating her condition, I told her that the consultant would be doing the needed procedure on her the next day. Mrs Williams said that she would not be getting the procedure because she had decided not to have it.

I sat next to her bed and asked her why she would not have this needed low risk procedure. I have never forgotten her answer. “He was not a nice and friendly man”.

Now, I knew that the other physicians were not as personable as me 🙂 , but what could the consultant have said or done to make Mrs Williams decide against the procedure? Mrs Williams – “He didn’t ask me how I was feeling, or say good morning, or look at me much. He just told me he would be doing it (the procedure) and the risks.”

I went on to discuss this with Mrs Williams and that this physician was the best is the area and I would let him perform the procedure on me without question. I finished with “Do you want the procedure done by one of the best or do you want a friendly conversation”? She quickly agreed to proceed with the procedure (and she did well).

We all know that being very good at medical decisions and treatments is the most important quality, but that is not an everyday reality. Among other non medical things, a good bedside manner will fill a doctor’s office with patients. I spend hours teaching other physicians how to improve and grow their practice and none of my time is spent on medical diagnoses. We just assume that all physicians have the same medical knowledge.

We all must remember that practice management tips are very helpful and can make your medical practice successful, but
the right diagnosis is always the most important thing for your patient.



Dr. Ricks is a native Texan, born in Liberty Texas. He graduated from University of Texas Southwestern Medical School and has been a medical doctor for 42 years. Specializing in Internal Medicine, Emergency Medicine, and Hospital Care (Hospitalist). He has produced numerous medical educational videos for aspiring school students and the general public. Dr. Ricks is currently sharing his experience as a physician with other healthcare professionals to improve their relationship with patients, patient satisfaction, and patient retention.

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