How to Handle Difficult Patients as an Emergency Medicine Doctor?


As an emergency medicine doctor, you are often the first line of contact for patients who may be in distress or in a difficult emotional state, says Dr Michael Hilton, the former Clinical Instructor of Rehabilitation Science and Technology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences.
It is important for you to stay calm under pressure and handle each patient with patience and empathy. Here are some tips that can help you remain professional, compassionate, and collected when handling difficult patients.
Empathize with Your Patients
It is important to remember that not all patients arrive at the hospital in their best state. It could be that they’re scared, anxious, angry, or even hostile due to the situation they’re facing. The best way to navigate this is by empathizing with them. Hear them out and explain things in a way that is easy for them to understand and accept.

Acknowledge their feelings and provide reassurance if needed. Listening attentively will also give your patient a sense of security which can reduce their feeling of anxiety or fear.
Remain Professional at All Times
No matter how challenging the situation might be, always maintain professionalism as an emergency medicine doctor. This means refraining from getting into arguments or debates with patients or family members who may be present during the consultation.

Stay polite while remaining firm on protocols if necessary. It is also important to remember that even though your patient may become agitated during the examination, it is essential not to take it personally but rather try your best to de-escalate the situation respectfully and calmly.
Stay Calm Under Pressure
The last thing you want at any point is for your emotions to get the better of you when dealing with Dr Michael Hilton a difficult patient or during an intense medical emergency situation. When faced with these situations, it’s best practice to take a few deep breaths before responding or taking action, as this will help keep your composure intact throughout the process, no matter what comes up along the way.

Not only will this help keep yourself in check but also those around you, including other medical staff present at hand, such as nurses and other doctors alike, who rely on your guidance in times like these.
Following these guidelines will ensure that both yourself and your team remain professional, empathetic, and composed throughout each scenario so that every patient receives top-notch care as required by law.