Awakening a doctor’s inner bully
What is it that causes a doctor to turn tyrant? An uncooperative patient could certainly do it.
Richard Kelley, M.D., founder of the “Physician’s Way Healthy Weight Loss,” clinic, says that if a doctor perceives that their patient is not taking their professional advice seriously, they may turn to other ways of motivating their reluctant charges.
When it comes to dealing directly with their patients, doctors generally take pains to maintain a pleasant bedside manner, but sometimes it can be difficult for doctors to keep their cool in the exam room.
Patients who self-diagnose or want to discuss the pros and cons of various treatment options with their doctors are becoming more numerous, putting a strain on the traditional doctor-patient relationship.
It’s certainly important for a patient or their caregiver to remain informed and discuss treatment options with a doctor, but physicians vary in their level of tolerance for lengthy talks. Twenty minutes is generally the maximum amount of time allotted for a typical appointment. This short time frame leaves little time for extra discussion.
Stress and fatigue can also inflame the situation, Kelley describes an instance when, after coming off a nightshift in the ER, he snapped at a patient who had not made progress in losing weight after one month of weight management therapy. He felt bad and later apologized to the woman, but she never returned to his clinic.
Using that incidence to motivate him, Kelley made it a goal of his to prioritize good relationships with his patients, making sure to always treat them as human beings, no matter the situation.
Slip-ups are inevitable Kelley says, particularly when one considers the rigors of a practicing physician’s life, but he feels that there is no excuse for consistently poor behavior.
Ronald Riggio, Ph.D., a psychologist and expert on intimidation in the workplace, also puts an emphasis on the constancy of the doctor’s behavior as the determining line between an isolated outburst and patient victimization.
According to Riggio, bullying behavior includes persistent insults, criticisms, and other actions that are done to exert power over or upset a targeted person.
Doctors Who Bully originally appeared on AgingCare.com.