Personal Communication: Building Trust/Rapport with Your Patients

Working as a pharmacist, and becoming a great one, means that you have to stay current within the profession, always learning about new medications and treatments.

But, that’s just the first step. Just as critical is learning how to build rapport and trust with your patients. Here are some strategies to help you:

Get to know your patients:

If possible, get to know your patients on a personal level. This may be a challenge if you work in a retail pharmacy setting, but if possible, speak briefly with your patients and learn a bit about their work, family, hobbies, etc. every time they come in.

Learning about your patients and taking an interest in them as people may be easier if you work in a hospital setting. That’s why you should make a point of visiting with your patients and explaining their medicine regime in detail with them.

Be honest:

Patients appreciate honesty and will come to trust you quickly if they know that you speak truthfully to them at all times, even when the news or prognosis isn’t good.

Give your patients some resources:

Whether talking to patients in a pharmacy setting or in a hospital, we know that you want to give them all the information about their medication regime. You can give patients links to appropriate websites, offer them literature for reading, give them a video/DVD to watch and, perhaps most importantly, be there for them for their questions and concerns.

Do what you say you’ll do:

Do what you say you will by the time you say you’ll do it. Little can shatter your credibility more than failing to follow through on the things you’ll say you do. If you can’t do something within the timeframe you mentioned, notify the patient of the delay.

Listen actively:

Another important part of building trust is to listen actively. When discussing the medications and their efficacy and possible side effects, listen carefully to your patient by looking him or her straight in the eye and responding quickly to any comments or questions. Active listening shows that you appreciate and value your patients.

Follow up: 

A little-used but powerful technique is to call your patient a few days after he or she returns home or has been using the medication. You can use this time to answer any questions the individual may have, but it’s also another opportunity to talk to the patient on a personal level as well as to see if there’s anything else the patient needs.

What about you? Do you have tips you could offer here regarding how to build trust and rapport with your patients?

Whether you’ve been working as a pharmacist for a year or for 20, if you’re interested in new opportunities, be sure to send your CV/resume to a recruiter at Rx relief®. We look forward to hearing how we can help you as you move through your pharmacy career!