Psst! Your Doctor’s Attitude is Important to Your Health


( – While your own attitude plays an important role in your overall health and well-being, your doctor’s attitude can also make a huge difference. An unpleasant, demanding physician can make patients, caregivers, coworkers, and supporting staff incredibly uncomfortable, resulting in everything from missed treatment opportunities to communication errors and safety violations. Here’s what you should consider about your doctor’s attitude and how it will affect your medical care.

Demanding Doctors Can Harm Patients – And Coworkers

Long shifts are the norm in the medical field, in both private practice and hospital settings. It’s not uncommon for doctors or nurses to experience exhaustion at some point during the workday. Add the difficulty of a condescending or demanding doctor to normal day-to-day stress and you have a recipe for disaster. Staff that don’t like dealing with their lead doctors are often hesitant to request rest breaks, missing out on lunch and becoming distracted and uncomfortable. This may result in treatment errors that affect your health; not to mention safety violations that can potentially injure medical workers.

In fact, a 2019 study published by JAMA Network shows a connection between surgeons’ attitudes and their patients’ recoveries. Patients of unprofessional surgeons with a history of complaints were significantly more likely to have postoperative complications than patients with surgeons who had few, if any, complaints about their attitudes. In the hospital setting, you may be hesitant to express concerns about your care or pain levels; while in the outpatient office setting, you may be less likely to want to discuss complications and side effects.

Attitude Affects Treatment and Recovery

How would you feel if you went into your doctor’s office and were refused a referral to a specialist because your doctor thought it was pointless? What if you saw a specialist who declared, “Tell your family goodbye because you probably won’t survive this procedure,” before treating you?

There are doctors who think they know best and will refuse to refer you to a specialist for more advanced care. Others simply lack tact. Statements like this may induce panic and cause you to doubt your body’s ability to heal itself, which is bad news for your health. Some experts believe thinking positive thoughts may help your body fend off illness and reduce the symptoms of conditions ranging from the common cold to cardiovascular disease.

We have to be realistic, though. Your doctor should certainly avoid sugarcoating news or keeping you in the dark about potentially risky procedures or bad test results. It’s important to receive accurate information about your health, but a professional doctor can convey this information in a respectful and compassionate manner — one that carefully blends reality with the importance of hope.

Choose Doctors Who Have Your Back

Your doctor should represent your best interests, not his own. Watch out for medical professionals who push treatments that violate your personal preferences after you’ve repeatedly rejected their recommendations.

Some doctors push specific prescriptions because they get a kickback from pharmaceutical companies. Other doctors may have good intentions but believe their expertise outweighs your preferences, so they pressure you to choose one treatment over another. Regardless of the reason, you deserve to be treated respectfully, even if you reject a medical provider’s recommendations.

If you’re dealing with a negative medical professional, stand your ground. Don’t agree to treatments that make you feel uncomfortable or unsafe, and definitely don’t be afraid to go out and find a second opinion if your doctor repeatedly ignores your wishes. You can do this in a hospital setting as well. Tell your nurse or an administrator that you do not wish to see the doctor who treated you again, and ask to be assigned to another. You deserve compassionate care throughout every part of your healthcare journey.

Keep an eye out for doctors or other medical professionals who behave badly, and don’t be afraid to switch providers if yours frequently exhibits inappropriate behavior. If your doctor crosses the line, don’t be afraid to report him or her to the state medical board.

~Here’s to Your Healthy Pursuits!

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