10 Ways to Improve Your Bedside Manner

84516963A physician must absorb a tremendous amount of knowledge before he or she is prepared to treat patients.

But computers and robots are capable of absorbing far greater quantities of information. So why is no one calling for doctors to be replaced by computers or robots?

The answer is that medical patients are looking for warmth, support and understanding in addition to expert medical knowledge. These are things that human beings can provide but machines cannot.

It is a part of your responsibility as a physician to cultivate a compassionate and comforting bedside manner, and here are 10 recommendations that can help you improve your performance in this vitally important area:

#1 Focus exclusively on your patient

Doctors are like jugglers trying to keep a dozen balls in the air at the same time. But no matter how busy or pressed for time you are you should never allow yourself to become distracted by other matters when you are with a patient.

#2 Observe the non-verbal elements of every encounter

Listen to the tone of your patient’s voice and watch his or her body language closely. This will tell you a lot about what your patient is really thinking and feeling, making it easier for you to respond in the appropriate manner.

#3 Work hard to make a good subliminal impression

By this we mean pay attention to your own body language, facial expressions and vocal tones. Your patient should see you as authoritative yet receptive, businesslike yet compassionate.

#4 Make your patient feel safe and comfortable.

If the medical problem is of a highly personal nature, let your patient know you would be willing to move to a more private space to discuss it.

#5 Adopt an open style of questioning

Draw your patients out and get them to go into detail about their problem and the symptoms they’ve been experiencing. You’ll gain more insight while validating their desire to be listened to and taken seriously.

#6 Listen closely

Make absolutely sure you understand the nature of your patient’s symptoms. If anything seems ambiguous or unclear ask questions and pay close attention to the answers. If your patient thinks you haven’t been listening he or she will see it as a sign of indifference and disrespect.

#7 Don’t judge

You are a professional and you can’t do your job properly unless you remain detached. Be honest with yourself and hold yourself accountable if and when you come up short in this area.

#8 Choose your words carefully

You must never forget your patients are apprehensive and in an emotionally fragile state. So always try to stay positive, upbeat, hopeful and encouraging, but without being trite, condescending or patronizing.

#9 Be reassuring

Let your patients know exactly what they have to do to get better and explain to them the role you will play in the healing process. Always emphasize healing over illness or injury, it will help your patient stay optimistic and relaxed.

#10 Stay in control but remain warm and polite

If your bedside manner is good your patients may be so comforted by your presence they won’t want to let you go. Be as polite as you can when you have to end an appointment and let your patients know you will always be available if and when they need to visit you again.

Making it Second Nature

At times it may be difficult to put your best foot forward in your interactions with your patients. After all you are a human being who has bad days just like everyone else.

But never forget that practice makes perfect. The more diligent you are about cultivating a warm and caring persona the easier it will be to maintain it in every circumstance.

Follow us for more insights into the world of health, medicine and medical practice.

Advertisements

Everything You Need to Know About Comas

450063159Comas are a popular plot point in movies and television, but what exactly is a coma?

What Is a Coma?

When someone falls into a coma, he or she is in a prolonged state of unconsciousness. To outsiders, it looks as though the patient is just in a deep sleep; however, the patient can’t be awakened.

What Causes a Coma?

Comas are the result of injury to the brain. The injury can be caused by bleeding, increased pressure, buildup of toxins or a lack of oxygen. The injury can be either temporary and reversible or permanent. Over half of comas are related to head trauma or to disturbances in the circulatory system of the brain.

The following problems in the brain can lead to a coma:

  • trauma
  • swelling
  • bleeding
  • stroke
  • blood sugar
  • oxygen deprivation
  • infection
  • toxins
  • repeated seizures

What Are the Types of Coma?

Types of coma include:

  • Toxic-metabolic encephalopathy—an acute condition of brain dysfunction where the patient presents as confused, delirious, or both. This condition can usually be reversed. The causes are varied, but can include infection, systemic illness and organ failure.
  • Anoxic brain injury—This brain condition is caused by a complete lack of oxygen to the brain. When the brain lacks oxygen for a few minutes, brain tissues can experience cell death. Anoxic brain injuries can be a result of a heart attack, drowning, head injury or trauma, drug overdose or poisoning.
  • Persistent vegetative state—Patients in this state are severely unconscious. The patient is unaware of his or her surroundings and is not able to move. Even if a patient in a persistent vegetative state is able to awaken, he or she may have no higher brain functioning. Those in persistent vegetative state are able to breathe and have sleep-wake cycles.
  • Locked-in syndrome—With this rare neurological condition, the patient is completely paralyzed except for the eye muscles. The patient remains awake and alert and has a normal mind.
  • Brain death—Brain death can be caused by lasting or widespread injury to the brain. The patient loses all brain function, and the condition is irreversible.
  • Medically induced—This is a type of temporary coma, or a deep state of unconsciousness. Doctors use this type of coma to protect the brain from swelling if the patient has suffered an injury. The doctor administers a controlled dose of anesthetic, which makes the patient lose feeling or awareness. The doctors then watch the patient’s vitals.

Can Comas Be Treated?

Treatment for comas is mostly supportive. The patient may receive medications, surgery or antibiotics to help relieve complications. If a patient has suffered a coma because of an overdose, the coma can usually be reversed if the patient receives medical attention quickly.

Please LIKE and FOLLOW for future posts and blogs on Health, Medical and Wellness information.

Do Doctors Have the Worst Jobs in America?

156506520Do doctors have the worst jobs in America? Wait, that question doesn’t seem right. Aren’t doctors some of the most coveted people in the nation? That may be, but the fact is that doctors are often completely burnt out and exhausted from long hours, immense responsibility and environmental frustration.

Far from being the grand occupation it might seem from afar, the occupation of medical doctor is the second most suicidal occupation in America. According to one WebMD study, only 54% of 24,000 doctors surveyed said they would choose medicine as a career again. In another WebMD study of 12,000 doctors, a miniscule 6% described their morale as positive. Perhaps the most terrifying statistic of all is that approximately 300 doctors commit suicide annually. What is causing all of this exhaustion and frustration?

Firstly, an impossible workload. Doctors have always been overworked and unfortunately over the years their workload has only increased. According to the Archives of Internal Medicine, nearly 50% of medical doctors work more than 60 hours per week, and in order to get through their patient list each day, most doctors have to see a new patient every 11-15 minutes.

This time frame doesn’t allow any doctor, no matter how competent, to fully understand their patient’s situation or generate a holistic treatment plan. This means that the quality of medical care decreases while the requirements for future care increase. Less preventative care given now means increased, and probably more involved, care needed in the future.

Secondly, the cooperation that is required between the medical profession and the insurance companies adds a level of frustration. Unfortunately the practice of medicine is often driven by the requirements of insurance companies rather than the needs of the patient. For instance, a doctor may be required by an insurance company to prescribe a certain generic prescription to his patient before he can prescribe the medicine that he knows will be more effective. This is an incredibly frustrating experience for the doctor because it keeps him from using his medical expertise and wastes additional time and money for both himself and his patient.

Thirdly, many of the technical tools provided to doctors are sub-par and outdated. The software many doctors use is inefficient and adds to the time they have to spend doing administrative tasks instead of seeing their patients.

Add to all of these elements the fact that doctors have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on their education—which, as we have seen, they may not always be allowed to use—and you have a perfect recipe for the exhaustion and burnout that we see in the medical community today. It is unfortunate that a field built upon a desire to help others has become such a demoralizing environment for those who have invested their lives into doing just that.

Remember to follow or like us for future posts on the medical field!

How to Recover from a Sinus Infection Faster

Young blonde female blowing her noseA sinus infection, otherwise known as sinusitis, can leave you feeling pretty miserable. The sinuses are pockets in the forehead and face that produce normal mucus to keep you healthy, as well as moisten the air you breathe. When the sinuses get inflamed, they’re not able to perform their usual functions, and this sometimes results in infection.

Symptoms

There is a range of symptoms that someone with a sinus infection might exhibit. These include:

  • a runny nose
  • congestion
  • coughing
  • sneezing
  • headache
  • fatigue
  • bad breath
  • sore throat
  • fever
  • pressure or tenderness around eyes

Not everyone has the same symptoms, and these symptoms also vary in severity dependent upon the individual.

Home Remedies

Often, sinus infections will improve on their own with time. To help alleviate symptoms, there are a number of measures you can take.

  • Use nasal saline
  • Apply warm heat
  • Breathe in steam vapors from the shower
  • Drink lots of fluids
  • Flush out sinuses
  • Rest
  • Use decongestants as needed
  • Use over-the-counter painkillers as needed
  • Drink tea
  • Eat spicy foods
  • Avoid cigarettes

When to See a Doctor

If your sinus infection isn’t going away with home remedies, you may need to see a doctor. If you have any of the symptoms below, call your doctor’s office for guidance.

Symptoms that don’t improve after seven to 10 days

  • Green, yellow or bloody mucus
  • A high fever
  • A strong headache not improved by OTC painkillers
  • Ear pain
  • Stiff neck
  • Severe neck pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Heaviness in the chest
  • Vision changes, swelling or redness around eyes
  • An allergic reaction to medication
  • Chronic sinusitis

Medical Treatments

About 2 to 10 percent of sinus infections are bacterial, and these can be treated with antibiotics. A doctor may also want to perform allergy testing to see if that is what’s causing your sinusitis, especially if it’s chronic. If you do have allergies he or she may prescribe or recommend certain allergy medications. Inhaled steroids are sometimes used to reduce inflammation. Lastly, surgery may be an option, if you continue to have bouts of sinusitis. You may need a procedure that enlarges the sinus passages and removes blockages.

Follow our ScannerDoc: Medical Imaging and Health Blog for all health and medical info you’ll ever need.

When Should You Keep Sick Children Home From School?

484617727

One of the most difficult decisions that a parent or care giver needs to make is to decide when a sick child needs to stay home. For many parents this decision may be made worse by the fact that their child may frequently complain of ailments just to skip school. Here some ScannerDoc tips that should help you make a decision.

Find the Answers

When should you keep sick children home from school? This question can be answered by first considering three simple questions. Firstly, you need to think about your child’s symptoms. Is it possible that they will keep her from participating in school activities? Next, if your child is contagious, then your decision is already made for you. Finally, consider if your child may need more care and supervision than the school can provide.

Doctor Speak

One of the most common ailments that afflict children is the flu. In fact, when it comes to the flu, school children are the most affected. The disease is contagious and easily spread in the classroom environment where children frequently come in contact with a sick child.  This is why pediatricians recommend the flu vaccine. Though many parents worry about the effectiveness of the vaccination, better vaccines that match the flu virus in circulation are being developed.

Some of the common symptoms associated with the flu include runny nose, cough and fever. ScannerDoc recommends that parents keep their children home from school if they have a fever of over 100. In addition, symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea are indications of the contagious phase of the illness.

In other words, if the child has a temperature of over 100, is vomiting or has a tummy upset, then it is best for her not to go to school. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the CDC recommends that children stay away from school at least 24 hours after the fever subsides.

If a child suffers from an ailment that is not contagious, such as an injury, it is best to consider how comfortable she may be at school. If medication may resolve the situation then it would be quite alright to continue with the usual routine. If you still find it difficult to make a decision, we recommend that you speak to your pediatrician.

Read This If You Have Been Diagnosed With Multiple Sclerosis

477462785

Being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis can be frightening and you may feel like you are alone. However according to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, it is one of the most common neurological diseases in adults. Multiple Sclerosis affects people between the ages of 20 and 40, and studies show that 400,000 people in the United States have been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, with 2.3 million people worldwide also suffer from it. What you need to know about this disease is that it can be managed successfully.

Medical professionals say that there are various treatments and medication now days that are designed to effectively handle the symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis. If you have been diagnosed with the disease, you should make it your duty to find out all you can about it. Education is the key to empowering yourself. The more you know about the condition, the better prepared you are. Multiple Sclerosis is a difficult disease to diagnose and a series of tests must be done in order to rule out the possibility of other diseases.

Some of the symptoms you may experience with this condition include, blurred vision, loss of balance, impaired speech and extreme fatigue, however, you must understand that no 2 people are the same. Some symptoms may come and go, while others will last longer. Start your treatment as soon as you receive your diagnoses. The longer you wait the more you increase the risk of disability. By tracking your symptoms and how often you are getting them, you can assist your doctor in determining whether the medication is helping or not. You can also try to avoid a relapse. Although there is no definite way of knowing when a relapse will begin, there are things that can trigger a relapse, such as consuming excessive amounts of alcohol and smoking. Being in the sun too long, taking hots baths and extreme fatigue may also trigger a relapse. Speak to your loved ones about your concerns about the disease and the most important thing that you can do aside from taking your medication and doctors advice, is not to give up hope.

Follow us for more advice on medical and health related topics.

Is It Safe To Take Antibiotics Over Long Periods Of Time?

103583538

Antibiotics are utilized to treat bacterial infections throughout the body. In the average lifetime, a person will take them numerous times on a short-term basis. It’s well-known that antimicrobials are invaluable treatment options. Some confusion exists about taking antibiotics over long periods of time, though. Fortunately, we’ve got answers here at the ScannerDoc: Medical Imaging and Health Blog.

Typical Antibiotic Uses and Treatments

For most bacterial infections, a regimen of antibiotics lasts anywhere from three to 10 days. Antimicrobials tend to come in pill or ointment form with slight variations between the two. Rarely are they needed for longer than a few days to stop bacterial infections. Typically, doctors prescribe antibiotics to treat eye infections, urinary tract infections, and more. These medications will not treat any viral infections.

When is long-term usage necessary?

Long-term antibiotics usage is a rare occurrence, but certain conditions require it. For instance, rosacea and certain forms of acne necessitate frequent usage of these medications. A handful of other conditions involving bacterial infections could involve long-term treatment with antimicrobials. The overwhelming majority of people will never suffer from such a condition because antibiotics are so effective.

Long-Term Usage Risks

Taking antibiotics over long periods of time can be risky for two reasons. For starters, all medications come with side effects. Side effects range from discomforting to severe, and they often get worse with time. Antibiotic resistance is the second issue, which can have large implications. With prolonged usage, the bacteria could become resistant to medication, and that makes treating infections exponentially more challenging.

Can long-term usage be safe?

In the end, long-term antibiotic usage can’t be avoided in all cases. Patients should work closely with their doctors to create a safe but effective usage plan. Topical ointments have less pronounced side effects and a lower risk of resistance, so they’re preferable for long periods of use. Either way, doctors and their patients need to weigh the benefits versus the risks in creating an antibiotic regimen to avoid issues moving forward.

Don’t forget to follow us for more information and resources related to health and medical topics!