How do presence and empathy make a difference in interactions with patients?

Presence and empathy can make a difference in interactions with patients by allowing patients to ask questions and allowing medical professionals understand the patients’ predicaments.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Presence and empathy on the part of doctors and other medical staff in hospitals and in doctors' rooms can make all the difference in interactions with patients.

In the aftermath of surgery, for example, it can be immensely useful for a patient to be able to speak directly to the doctor immediately so that he or she can ask questions about how the surgery went and find out whether any complications are to be expected. Similarly, it is natural for patients to have an abundance of questions before a procedure, and being able to ask the doctor these questions directly will provide much-needed peace of mind. A doctor’s presence can therefore make all the difference.

Empathy is the ability to put oneself in somebody else’s predicament and imagine what they are going through. The ability of nurses and doctors to achieve this makes a huge difference, because it will give them an appreciation of the pain and confusion that the patient is going through. This will make their interactions more sympathetic and compassionate. While a doctor has to maintain his or her sense of objectivity at all times and should not become emotionally attached to a patient, empathy allows them to treat patients with care and compassion.

Last Reviewed by eNotes Editorial on
Soaring plane image

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial