Many patients are satisfied with their care from physicians and find their stay in the hospitals to be quite meaningful. But when you start looking for it; bad bedside manner, and dehumanization…it is everywhere.

For example, a physician enters a room and begins examining a patient’s abdomen without permission or without even an introduction. Or, in a bedside conversation, medical professionals or trainees call people by their diseases rather than their names. All of these are unprofessional and dehumanizing. As a medical student, 8 ways has been mapped out an article published in Perspectives on psychology Science, that can help your patient feel more human.

  • Dress like an individual: Truthfully, medical students do not have much to say in how they are supposed to dress in the hospital, but try to stand out in small ways such as wearing a name tag related to your specific affiliations in medicine.
  • Share decision making with patients: Illness is intrinsically dehumanizing. It rubs patients of their ability to plan, intend, and act, and it takes away their sense of self. You can empower patients by making them active partners in decision making. Specifically, remember to engage them in the process of informed consent before you make decisions about treatment and procedures. 
  • Talk to patients about their lives. 
  • Give patients small responsibilities such as taking care of a plant, or reading a book.
  • Relate to your patients: Think about your common humanity with your patient knowing that at some point in life, everyone suffers, loses loved ones, or is vulnerable to disease or disability.
  • Avoid labeling.
  • Personalize your patient.
  • Focus on both subjective and objective in your patient encounters.


Finally, medicine is by definition a humane profession, yet compassionate care is sometimes overlooked. the more we understand about psychological underpinnings  of dehumanization, the more likely we are to prevent it. Until then, lets make the small changes in our interaction with patients a big difference as we go through training and eventually as doctors.








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