An integral constituent of your dental education is to learn the essentials that go into making a good practitioner. Knowledge and practical implementation, however, are two very different things. Dental schools generally facilitate your hands-on practicing needs by providing you with patients but some of them manage to slip away. They might be present on day one and promise to come back the next day but the next day you realize they did not make an appearance. There are many possible reasons why a patient leaves. They could be frightened or financially incapable of paying for the treatment costs. Some, however, leave because they do not agree with your suggestion regarding the treatment measures necessary. To be successful in dental school, you need to be able to convince patients to listen to and follow through with your recommended treatment plan. Here are a few suggestions that will help you understand the dynamics of the doctor-patient relationship in order to attain approval.
As a dental student, you are an inexperienced beginner thus; rejection from the patient’s end is not surprising. If you wish for your patient to confide in you, you must appear well-informed about your patient’s history. If you have a record of the patient’s past medical and dental records, it is wise to review them before the patient arrives. Be well aware of the patient’s past procedures as well as previously and currently prescribed medications, if any. Assess the need for a medical consultation before starting the planned procedure. Always consult faculty members before the appointment regarding any concerns that you may have. Do not be afraid to raise questions and simultaneously try coming up with definitive treatment options. Discussion will correct you if you are wrong and further add to your hands-on learning experience.
It is crucial to always stay focused on your patient. An often understated aspect of the entire treatment experience is common courtesy. Learn to pronounce your patient’s name properly and upon their arrival, be courteous. Greet them with warmth whilst maintaining eye contact. Put away all your distractions and find a position that allows you to input the patient’s data whilst observing your patient body language and general behavior.
It is important that you are well-informed with your patient’s recommended treatment procedures in order to be able to educate the patient regarding it as well. Educating your patient in simple terms is essential in achieving understanding, building trust, and thus higher acceptance.
To make the process easier for both the patient and yourself, you may need to help them visualize their treatment options and potential problems. Photographs and digital radiographs can be adjusted according to your requirement to allow the patient to see what you see and what the best treatment option is according to you. Study models are an excellent way to attain a 3D illustration of the patient’s mouth. Similarly, implants, dentures, partial dentures, and crowns should be physically demonstrated using examples so that the patient can understand better via visual learning. If everything else fails, sketch out a simple drawing to avoid confusion.
Try to envision your setting through the patient’s eyes. Pay close attention to your appearance. Focus on the small things. Dress appropriately and make sure your doctor’s coat is clean. Your station should be tidy and organized. These seemingly insignificant details help immensely when it comes to the patient confiding in you and your practice’s measures regarding hygiene. Assess your setting from the patient’s point of view. Is the general aura relaxing? Is there a spot that needs cleaning or maintenance? Your goal should be to make your patient feel good about their decision to choose you as their doctor.
After you are done explaining the treatment plan and clearing any misconceptions and confusion, you and your patient need to decide on a definitive action plan together. Always schedule the patient’s next appointment with them before they leave your office. Follow up with a phone call later during the day to check up on them and offer them your gratitude for trusting you with their treatment.
Patient care can be an extremely rewarding or a very frustrating experience if your patient does not comply with your suggestion or does not show up for a scheduled appointment. Case acceptance rates improve with time, patience, and expertise. Put these suggestions to the test and see if you succeed.