Managing Relationships as a Healthcare Professional

woman in white coat

In healthcare, collaboration affects every patient. Isolated healthcare professionals lack the support, guidance, and connection necessary to give their patients the best possible care.

Isolated professionals provide fragmented healthcare, which has lower quality and higher cost than care that is coordinated. UC Davis Medical Center outlines the importance of nurses’ holding relationships with one another, writing, “Healthy relationships are formed when nurses consistently attune to one another, wonder with and about one another, follow the cues provided by one another, and hold one another with respect and dignity.”

This philosophy should apply not only to nurses but to clinicians and ancillary staff as well.

The Different Types of Relationships

Healthcare is an extensive system of interconnected communities. Every organization is its own community. A group of nurses on a floor or physicians working in a specific department form a community. 

These communities most often intersect when patients require multiple services and expertise. To provide them with the smoothest possible delivery model, these communities must rely on one another. This means healthcare professionals must learn how to best interact with one another and support one another’s roles.

Managing Relationships With Patients

The best thing you can do with your patients is to listen. Patients are individuals; two people with the same diagnoses have different stories. It is important to know each person and to give each one your undivided attention.

Good, compassionate communication is vital. The recent adoption of electronic health portals allows patients to easily contact their doctors, view lab results, and get important updates about their care. However, consider every patient’s preferences and needs. Additional follow-up through phone calls or emails maybe necessary to keep them engaged and compliant with their care plans.

In The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safetyan article about improving patient care highlighted the benefits of higher-quality relationships in primary care. Building trust, using respectful interactions, embracing diversity, and practicing heedfulness positively influence outcomes.

Managing Relationships With Patients’ Families

Anyone understands the value of a support system in physical and mental well-being. This is especially true in healthcare. Family members accompany their loved ones to appointments and play an active role in their healthcare.

HIPPA prevents you from disclosing certain information to family members who don’t have power of attorney. Nonetheless, when the patient requests, you can share care plans with the family. Educating patients and their loved ones drastically improves healthcare by facilitating follow-through and compliance with care recommendations. Don’t be afraid to let them ask questions and give them practical tips on ways they can best support their loved ones.

If you are working with primary caregivers, recognize that they need your support just as much as the patient. Whether it’s the parent of a child or an adult child who is caring for an elderly parent, caregiving is a challenge. A medical professional’s empathy and support can help ease the hardship people face.

Managing Relationships With Physicians

Colleagues play an important role, and you may collaborate with different members of your patient’s healthcare team. Their perspective is different and will enrich yours. Being respectful, developing rapport, and supporting one another is essential. 

Emails, phone calls, or virtual meetings can make it much easier to align your care objectives. Creating shared goals and desired outcomes will improve your practice.

Personal and professional lives can intersect when you share a practice. Be mindful of boundaries and the importance of maintaining a professional demeanor, no matter how close you may become to a colleague.

Managing Relationships With Allied Health Professionals

Patients’ care extends far beyond your clinic. Your allied health professionals provide tremendous value to your patients’ lives. Including them improves care. Patients have multiple touchpoints on their path to healing that need consistent coordination and consideration.

Take time to understand other professionals’ tools and methods of communication; create opportunities by setting aside specific time blocks to discuss patients’ needs. Ask how you can assist them so the relationship is mutually beneficial and, by extension, more efficient and impactful.

Managing Relationships With Administrative Staff

Administrative staff play a vital role in your practice’s daily operations. From greeting patients and answering questions to managing client billing, they streamline the entire healthcare delivery process from start to finish.

Ensure that communication is easy by incorporating technology, improving onboarding, and routinely checking in with staff. Administrative staff have a unique view of your office or organization – value their feedback, put it into practice, and see how transformative it can be for faculty and patients.

Why Relationship Management is Essential in Healthcare

Patients’ needs and expectations evolve linked to improving technology, coordinating care services, or streamlining the reimbursement process. The smoothness and quality of your relationships with other healthcare professionals is an important factor in your success.

Implementing respect, timeliness, and collaboration leads to better outcomes, smoother service, and increased satisfaction.

How to Improve Relationships in Healthcare

Improving relationships in healthcare starts by examining current gaps in communication and understanding where messages fall short. Establish professional boundaries, which aren’t barriers but building blocks to more efficient, authentic communication.

Ask yourself, “What are we trying to achieve?” and “How do our objectives differ?” Both you and your healthcare administrator wish to help your patient, but the roles differ.

By and large, every person in healthcare wants a positive outcome for patients.

By focusing on finding opportunities to benefit from one another’s expertise, you can enjoy more rewarding interactions that have long-reaching effects.

Get Started Now

You don’t have to navigate the process of healthcare management alone. I would love to help you learn how to improve relationships throughout your professional career, whether you run a practice, work as a physician, or oversee an entire healthcare facility.

Please reach out to me today to get the conversation started.