How to Foster Provider-Patient Connections as a Locum Tenens Professional
For years, researchers have examined the influence the provider-patient relationship has on medical outcomes. Generally speaking, studies have concluded that positive communication between providers and patients leads to increased satisfaction, greater understanding of diagnoses and treatment plans, and more effective compliance.
However, patients aren’t the only benefactors of positive relationships. Many physicians and advanced practitioners enjoy building rapport with the individuals they treat. According to the 2022 Medscape Physician Compensation Report, “gratitude/relationships with patients” was the No. 1 reward of the job.
Providers who accept assignments in multiple facilities and communities can establish their own ways to make meaningful and rewarding bonds with patients. Here, we cite a few strategies to enhance and promote provider-patient relationships while on a locum tenens contract.
● Seek out longer assignments
When locum tenens jobs last several weeks or months, there is a higher likelihood you will have more frequent interactions with patients, such as follow-up visits. Extended stays at a hospital, clinic, or private practice group also allow you more time to get to know your co-workers.
● Accept repeat or recurring assignments
One of the benefits of choosing locum tenens opportunities, whether as a full-time career or a moonlighting job, is deciding where you wish to practice. Some people prefer to return to a facility where they previously enjoyed a locum tenens experience. Not only does the familiarity with the setting and staff ease acclimation, but the encore assignment increases the probability of encountering some of the same patients. Also, recurring contracts by which locum tenens providers agree to serve at a specific facility on a routine basis (e.g., one week per month) promote even greater connections with patients and peers.
● Dedicate more hours to patient care
It’s not unusual for staff members to divide shifts between treating people and the myriad administrative duties placed upon them. As a locum tenens professional, the vast majority of your responsibilities centers on patient care. You’re not pulled into meetings or having to find the hours to manage other staff or unit operations. Even with a one-time patient visit, the ability to focus more wholly on the individual’s medical care sets the stage for an authentic and meaningful exchange.
● Focus on commonalities
An effective tool to successfully relate with a person you just meet is to express a common experience. For example, offer an impression or appreciation of your new community with patients, family members, or co-workers. People generally welcome friendly comments about their hometown. Plus, the casual comments help break the ice, perhaps clearing the way for more effective communication between provider and patient.
If you are interested in learning more about the many benefits of a locum tenens practice, reach out to All Star Healthcare Solutions today. Call us at 800-928-0229, or contact us online.