Learn tips for connecting with your pediatric patients, from being approachable and engaging to creating a child-friendly environment in your clinic.
Being a pediatric medical professional is rewarding. However, working with children requires a unique skill set beyond your medical expertise. Children aren’t tiny adults; they have different needs that you must address to establish comfort and trust.
Here are a few tips for connecting with your pediatric patients that will ensure a positive experience for both parties involved.
Be Approachable and Engaging
Children can easily feel intimidated by the clinical and sterile environment of the doctor’s office. Make a point of presenting yourself as friendly, warm, and engaging. You want to stay at eye level when talking to kids, so crouch down or sit on a stool so that they feel more comfortable when speaking with you. It would be best if you also tried to engage them by asking about their hobbies, favorite characters, or movies to put them at ease.
Establish Trust With Parents
Building trust with parents is crucial. Take the time to listen to their concerns and acknowledge their feelings. Provide honest answers and make sure they understand the procedures and recommendations you’re discussing. A trusting doctor-parent relationship translates to a more trusting doctor-child relationship.
Empower the Child’s Involvement
Children appreciate it when adults give them control over their bodies and decisions. Involve them in their health care by asking for their input, encouraging them to ask questions, and allowing them to participate in age-appropriate choices. Avoid using medical jargon and break down concepts into simpler terms for their understanding.
Create a Child-Friendly Environment
Consider incorporating elements for patient room design that appeal to children. Use vibrant colors, fun artwork, and comfortable furniture so that the children feel at ease. Have a spot with toys, books, and videos in the waiting area to help them pass the time and take their minds off potential anxiety about the appointment.
Use Humor and Distractions
A few jokes or funny faces will surely lighten the mood and help your pediatric patients feel more at ease. Offering distractions during procedures, like a small toy or a colorful poster on the ceiling, will make the whole experience less intimidating.
Patience and Sensitivity
Every child is different, and some may take longer to feel comfortable with you. Be patient, understand their unique situations, and let them know that you’re there to help. For kids dealing with anxiety or sensory issues, allow them the time they need and be sensitive to their needs.
The way you connect with your pediatric patients and their families could drastically affect the level of care and comfort they experience during appointments. If you provide your patients with a comforting and welcoming atmosphere, they’re less likely to experience anxiety around coming to the doctor. This will benefit them well into adulthood. By incorporating these tips, your practice can create a space where children and their parents can feel confident in their health-care journey.