Medical Assistants: How to Show Empathy in Patient Care

medical assistant with patient
medical assistant with patient

Medical Assistants: How to Show Empathy in Patient Care

Whether you’re already one, or hope to become a Medical Assistant, your bedside manner could set you apart from others in the profession. How you communicate with and interact with patients is essential to helping doctors and staff help patients. You’re all one big healthcare team with the goal of providing the best care possible to your patients. And all patients, especially those who are feeling vulnerable, look for respect and empathy. As a medical assistant, you can improve your bedside manner and by focusing on, listening to, and showing compassion to your patient.

1. Introduce Yourself and Learn the Patient’s Name

Introduce yourself to your patients and explain your role in their care. This only takes a minute. If you don’t know how to pronounce a patient’s name, ask them. This makes the patients feel like an individual and encourages them to participate in their healthcare decisions.

2. Listen and Concentrate on the Patient

Give the patient your full attention. Avoid appearing distracted, “too busy,” or like you have other things that are more important. Listen and repeat what the patent says to be sure you understand their concerns, and so they know you get it. Patients might be confused, scared, or overwhelmed, so be sure to offer comfort and reassurance to make them feel safe and secure.

3. Ask Easy and Open Questions as the Medical Assistant

Ask simple and open questions to encourage your patients to talk and share more information about their ailment and symptoms. Avoid speaking in complicated medical terms to limit their confusion or anxiety. Something that’s a standard word to you because you’re a professional could make the patient feel embarrassed for not knowing what you mean. Medical words can be scary! Patients who feel like you understand them and are genuinely listening to them will be happier than patients who feel ignored or misunderstood.

4. Make Your Patient Feel Comfortable

Be confident but relaxed around your patient. Pay attention to your own small habits like crossing your arms or tapping or clicking your pen that might make your patient feel like you’re bored. Make eye contact and smile to make the patient feel at ease too. Putting your patient at ease will help them open up and speak more freely.

5. Admit When You Don’t Know the Answer

It’s impossible to know everything. If your patient asks you a question and you don’t know the answer, let them know you’ll take the time to find the right answers. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. When patients know you’re taking the time to help them, they will feel more confident in the care you provide.

Although good a bedside manner can go without notice from your superiors, bad bedside manner will definitely lead to complaints and negative feedback.


If you like helping others and want an essential career where you’ll be an important member of a healthcare team, get your Medical Assisting training at Porter and Chester Institute in Connecticyt and Massachusetts. We’ll teach you how to provide direct patient care with lots of hands-on training using the same kinds of medical, diagnostic and administrative equipment you’ll find in actual hospitals and healthcare facilities. Is a rewarding medical career right for you? Let Porter Chester Institute help you identify goals, personal strengths and important facts about your potential career path so you can make an informed decision about your future. Fill out the form today to get started on a rewarding career path.