How to Provide Great Patient Care


How to Provide Great Patient Care

by Hannah McSweeney, CPhT

Providing great patient care starts with an act of service from the heart. You may be able to provide good patient care on a daily basis, however, we can provide great care by digging just a little deeper. By showing empathy, transparency, and patience, as pharmacy technicians, we can reach someone and provide the best possible experience to patients.

Empathy, by definition, is the ability to understand and feel others’ emotions without explanation or, in other words, putting yourself in someone else’s shoes. As technicians in a retail setting, this is something you may struggle with day to day because it can be emotionally draining, especially with the more troublesome patients. Over time, I have learned that patients who come to the pharmacy with an angry demeanor often have some underlying issue affecting them, and the anger is not necessarily directed at you. For example, a wife came to drop off her husband’s prescriptions and was very snippy and angry. By showing empathy, I heard her whole story out, and it turns out she was severely stressed out because her husband was just diagnosed with a terminal illness and the concern manifested as anger. By putting ourselves outside the situation and seeing the bigger picture, we allow ourselves a better chance at an impactful connection with a patient.

Another key element to provide above and beyond patient care is transparency. One of the biggest complaints you will hear from patients is, “They said it would be ready in x amount of minutes.” Transparency is a huge game changer- in a professional manner, let the patients know that you are honestly going to be x amount of minutes and show that you are actively trying to help. By being honest, they will respect how the situation was handled more or, at the very least, readjust their expectations.

Finally, patience is possibly the most significant factor in providing better patient care. Patience goes such a long way in healthcare that you are already actively showing empathy by being patient. So often, we are too bogged down with stats and metrics, trying to go through as many prescriptions and patients as possible but forgetting to slow down and see the patients for who they are and what they need. Patience is vital in many patient demographics, from the elderly to the disabled, to the patients who may not speak perfect English, and the list goes on. I cannot stress this one enough- patience, patience, patience.

Overall, many things like empathy, transparency, and patience go into providing great patient care. By consciously utilizing these in everyday patient approaches, great care is just around the corner. I firmly believe these are the key points in providing above-and-beyond care to patients in many different settings, whether in person or even on the phone.