How to irritate your patient

Posted on November 19, 2008. Filed under: Benign |


In a recent post I identified ways in which patients can (and often do) irritate their clinicians….as such it seems only fair to reverse these roles…

The following list comes from experience of sitting in with mentors and colleagues who have irritating habits that they are probably not aware of, plus a few things I also do on occasion…not on purpose though!

So here is my list of ways to irritate patients (incidentally I don’t recommend doing any of these if you want to be liked)…this is not definitive so please feel free to add you own in the comments box, I’m sure most of you have come across at least one irritating clinician…

1: Try to maintain a conversation with your tongue rammed firmly in one side of your mouth in an attempt to supress laughing in the patients face…I was doing this only last week when my patient advised me that his piles were “much better since his autopsy…”  I assume he meant biopsy, if not he was looking extremely well for someone who had a recent autopsy.  Although I have reason to believe that autopsies do stop the pain of piles and all other discomforts!

2: Don’t put your tongue firmly in your cheek and thus laugh blatantly in the patients face, then as the dribble rolls down your chin, shout out.  “Don’t be stupid, how can an open window cause you to have arthritis in your knee!”  or some such drivel.

Looking forward to his retardment..

3: Diagnose the patient as they walk to the consulting room, as soon as you enter the room start tapping on the computer and issue a prescription and tell them to come back in a week if it hasn’t improved and at no point allow the patient to tell you why they’ve attended.

4: Lecturers in communication will tell you it is good to make positive noises when listening to a people, however you can use this to irritate your patient, by says “Hmmm” and nodding after every third word they say.  It makes this consultation go quicker.

5: Allow the patient only to see one side of your face, as you stare directly at the computer monitor, thus not notice the patients eye is actually hanging out of their face and then hand them a prescription for chloramphenicol.

6: Whilst the patient is talking, fiddle, look at your nails and rock like a loony in your chair.

7: Use fabulous terminology with no attempt to explain what it means or it’s implication and then issue a blood test form and make a follow up appointment for a months time.

8a: Ask if the patients nasty sexually transmitted infection has cleared up, in front of their new partner.

8b: Ask how your teenage patients are getting on with the pill in front of their parents who didn’t know they were on it.

8c: Ask if an elderly relative is dead yet.

9: Spend the whole consultation chatting about someone else in the family, and then give no time for the reason the patient presented.

10 : Mutter those immortal words rich in sarcastic tone: “Oh you’ll live!”.

That’s a starter…come on give us some more dearest reader…

…as always I appeal to you for any humorous goings on and if anyone wants to write an entry for this blog just email it to me, guest writers are welcome, or if you are lacking in confidence about your writing ability, but have a funny tale, tell me all about it in an email and I’ll polish it up and write it in my own daft style.

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3 Responses to “How to irritate your patient”

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I find that moving the monitor slightly so they can’t read whats on it drives them to distraction…..especially since a certain gentleman rang the practice manager later task why he’d been diagnosed with early paranoia……yep, it was early paronychia……

I have found that the worst offense ever is to not listen to your patient and then wonder why they did not listen to you….


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