Healthcare Professionals: How to Connect with Patients, Families & Colleagues

In healthcare, perhaps more so than any other field, it is critical to quickly establish a trusting connection with everyone you encounter in your workday: patients, their families, and co-workers. If your patients immediately trust you, you can better focus on their medical needs, and if their family connects with you, they’ll trust your opinion and respect your expertise. Similarly, if you can quickly establish rapport with your colleagues, you can focus on performing your job well rather than spending time trying to befriend, impress or “fit in.” Effective healthcare training videos can coach all healthcare professionals how to make quick, genuine, human connections with others.

Connecting quickly and authentically with others begins with your body language in the first 90 seconds of meeting someone. You must make sure your body language is open, attentive and reflective of the other person’s. Look the other person straight in the eye (if culturally appropriate), smile with your whole demeanor (people can quickly detect a “fake” smile from a genuine one), and angle your body to face theirs. If the other person is animated, use gestures; if they’re laid back and relaxed, mirror calm body language back to them. Without even uttering a word, all this body language sends the signal that you can be trusted, and that you are likeable.

To accompany your body language, it’s important to demonstrate a positive, helpful attitude. As very busy, highly trained medical professionals, there’s a risk of the attitude we “give off” being rushed, anxious, arrogant or impatient. While sometimes understandable, none of those attitudes invite patients, visitors or colleagues to connect with you, much less trust you. Instead, strive to present an attitude that’s welcoming. When meeting with a patient or his/her family, an empathetic attitude will gain trust, and a curious attitude will encourage the patient to open up to you, while simultaneously making them feel listened to and respected.

The people you serve want you paying attention to them. They want you to focus on them. They don’t care that you had a difficult morning or a long shift. Leave a negative attitude at the door and wisely select an attitude that is welcoming, enthusiastic, curious or resourceful.

Business and healthcare specific training videos can help staff learn the skills for the final, communication portion of connecting with others: showing you’re interested in what they have to say by asking open-ended questions and really listening to their responses. Open-ended questions are those that require more than a “yes” or “no” answer, and generally start with Who, What, When, Where or How. These questions prompt a patient (or guest or co-worker) to go deeper with their answer, which gets them talking and hopefully, opening up to you.

After you’ve asked a question, use active listening to keep the conversation going. This means focus on what the other person is saying, use attentive body language (like nodding your head)  and when they’re finished speaking, feedback what you’ve heard them say to verify your understanding. It’s also good to ask a follow-up question (hopefully an open-ended one) to keep the other person talking.

By following these steps, anyone in healthcare has the capacity to create genuine personal connections with others within the first few moments of meeting them.

There are many outstanding employee training videos that can help viewers with communication skills, patient care and satisfaction, and attitude. How to Connect in Healthcare in 90 Seconds or Less combines all these skills to help medical professionals create meaningful connections at work to increase the quality of care patients receive.