Then I must make sure I view patients as individuals rather than members of a particular category. Considering the patient’s perspective in an empathic way is vital, especially when they make non-verbal expressions, which I must be careful not to miss or ignore. Lastly, forming a partnership with the patient will reassure them that we are working together towards one end, standing us together, rather than on either side of a gulf. This promotes trust and understanding.
2. First impressions last longest: Matthew said he hopes to improve his expression and tone to reflect a more caring attitude, seeking to comfort and soothe the patient. This is very good, because patients place a lot of trust and hope in a medical practitioner, so it should not be left to chance or personality. However, training in aspects of cultural competency, and in avoiding unconsciously categorizing patients (Medscape CME 2008), is something I must address as critical, in addition to appropriate bedside manner. A patient should feel on a level standing with all others, and feel that I can empathize and consider their individual circumstances and preferences. Experience will help me gauge facial and other non-verbal messages to accurately decipher a patient’s preference, fears, choices and inclinations. This means I must look inside myself and discover more about how I regard members of our culturally-diverse