You enter the exam room to find Mrs. Jones scowling and sitting with her arms crossed. She just snapped at your nurse for having to repeat her blood pressure reading, and she immediately makes a snide comment about the quality of your staff. How should you respond?
The technique of “reframing” can help.
Instead of viewing Mrs. Jones as rude and difficult, consider another perspective. For example, consider that when people are rude, they are often suffering – in pain, depressed, anxious, frustrated that they aren't getting better, etc. Understanding this can help you respond to a patient’s rudeness more effectively, with empathy and curiosity rather than anger and defensiveness.
Adapted from “Reducing Frustration and Increasing Fulfillment: Reframing.”
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