3 Tips For Managing Difficult Patients in Healthcare

Working with a difficult or unhappy patient? Discover three helpful tips for managing difficult patients in healthcare and get certified with eMedCert today.

As an aspiring healthcare professional with a passion for helping those you come across, you’re bound to meet a wide range of individuals as you advance further in your career.

3 Tips For Managing Difficult Patient...

Some may have amazing personalities and minor health issues that allow them to be rather pleasant. Others, however, may be dealing with severe pain or have a personality that you don’t quite know how to work with. They may come across as curt, or they may say things or behave in a way that impacts you on a personal level.

What’s important to remember is that each of these individuals is a human being deserving of proper care and empathy. If you encounter a patient who may be a bit more difficult to work with, here are a few tricks and tips for difficult patients in healthcare that will give you the guidance you need to help them.

1. Monitor The Situation And Get Your Bearings

Understanding the situation at hand is crucial to figuring out which methods will be most effective in dealing with a difficult patient. When you begin working with a patient who’s a bit more difficult than others, make sure to:

  • Watch Their/Your Body Language: Communication is key to working with any patient. However, communication spans beyond just the words you exchange. When you first approach your patient, pay attention to their body language. Do they seem closed off, scared, or agitated? More importantly, watch how you respond! Are you relaxed? Open? Warm? Perhaps you are responding aggressively. Note the body language of both you and your patient.
  • Analyze Their Emotions And Communication: One of the biggest tips for dealing with difficult patients in healthcare is to analyze how they feel and what they say to you. Their emotions can help you better understand what they’re feeling and how you can approach their treatment plan more effectively.
  • Give Patients Your Full Attention And Listen Carefully: It’s important that you don’t tell difficult patients how they feel. Instead, give them your undivided attention and listen to what they’re saying. If they feel that you’re actively listening and fully invested in their emotional quality, it should become easier to treat them.

2. Maintain The Proper Mindset Throughout Treatment

How you choose to approach the situation will ultimately determine the outcome of the continued interaction between you and a patient. Beyond the tips for difficult patients in healthcare offered in the previous section, you should:

  • Prioritize Your Emotions (And Never Take Anything Personally): No matter what, it’s crucial to remember that a difficult patient’s actions typically are not representative of something you’ve done. Whether they’re in pain, resistant to treatment, or afraid of the methods employed to keep them healthy, their behavior and words are their own. Instead, prioritize your emotions and remember to take care of yourself to stay positive and effective as a healthcare worker.
  • Process And Acknowledge The Situation: You have a difficult patient, and that’s okay. Take some time to process the situation and allow yourself to experience the feelings that come with it. Your job is to treat the patient. As long as you do this to the best of your abilities, you’ve done everything you can.
  • Set Boundaries And Never Accept Abuse: There’s a major difference between a difficult patient and a patient who is violent or otherwise abusive. While it’s great to want to be helpful, it should never come at the cost of your physical or mental health. Establish boundaries and never accept abuse from your patients.

3. Make Patients Feel More Comfortable Moving Forward

The tips for difficult patients in healthcare offered above are a great way to assess the situation and help you stay grounded as you approach treating them. However, they may not address the underlying issues that are making them difficult to work with.

One trick you can use to see where you can improve is by administering patient surveys. The opportunity to offer further insight can give you a better idea of where they need more support. Letting them voice their opinions is just one way to potentially improve the nurse-patient relationship.

Another way to get closer to them is to try to empathize with them and allow them to tell you their story. Creating a rapport with your patient may not always work, but it may reduce some of the friction between you and them so that you can treat them more effectively.

With that in mind, it’s important to remember that you’re there to do a job. As long as you’re providing them with the level of care that they need and deserve, this is truly all that matters.

Discover How To Communicate With Patients & Advance Your Career

Knowing all the necessary tips for dealing with difficult patients in healthcare will make your journey easier. However, you have to get all of the proper certifications in order to find yourself in environments where you can apply these helpful tips. If you’re ready to take the next steps in your career, eMedCert is here to guide you every step of the way.

Our 100 percent online courses for ACLS, PALS, and BLS make it easy for you to complete your necessary certifications within as little as an hour from the comfort of your own home. 24/7 access to course materials also makes it easier to learn about the essentials regarding Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS), Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS), and Basic Life Support (BLS).

Once you’ve completed your course, we give you a digital and physical copy of your certification card. With AMA, ANCC, ACPE, and ADA-approved CME/CE continuing education credits available, taking the next step in your career is easy.

For more information on the continuing education offered for all eMedCert courses, please see our Continuing Education page.

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