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Nurturing the Relationship with Your Patients to Deliver Better Care

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August 31, 2020

How to develop a more personal bond when time is tight

  • Trust is an essential part of the relationship you have with patients
  • Building that trust can be challenging when time is in short supply
  • Use what time you do have available to build a rapport with your patients
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The strength of your relationship with your patients can have a significant impact on the quality of care you provide. Trust is one of the cornerstones of this relationship, but building that trust takes time and effort. And when you’re juggling a heavy patient load, time can be a commodity in short supply.

UCSF Medical Center hematologist-oncologist Dr. Nina Shah encourages physicians to use what time they do have available to build a rapport with their patients. “I think it’s on us to make sure we are emotionally available to the patients, and as available as we can be with our time,” she tells SurvivorNet Connect.

Building trust now can create a bond that lasts over the long term, as Dr. Shah discovered when she made the effort to listen to and honor a chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) patient’s treatment request. “She still, even though I’m no longer her doctor…keeps in touch with me and follows things that are going on with me and lets me know how she’s doing. And it makes me realize that we had a personal relationship, not just one of a doctor and a patient.”