Re: "Bedside manners matter"
(Thanh Nien Weekly Issue 94, July 8-14)
We do not refer to "bedside manners." We refer to "a bedside manner".
With any enterprise, self-belief and the ability to project it effectively is key.
For hospitals and doctors, the key is the ability to inspire confidence. Everyone wants a doctor who is properly qualified, but they all are. It is illegal for a doctor who is not properly qualified to practice? So are they all the same? No.
Soon after my arrival here, I used the local Columbia Clinic for check-ups. A doctor was originally chosen because he spoke French, English and Vietnamese. He told me that my PSA number was going up and explained that if it kept doing it, I would need a prostate operation. However, there was medication without any anticipated side effects which should bring it back down. It was not quick. I would need to take it for at least a year, possibly two.
After I started the medication, my PSA number stopped going up, then very gradually came down and after 18 months was back to normal, so the doctor told me to stop taking it. After many similar experiences, he won my confidence and I go to him even after he moved to place not very convenient for me.
Is he the best doctor in the world? I don't know. All I know is that he inspires my confidence. He explains very carefully what is happening, what he is doing and what he expects to happen. He is consistently right.
In Brighton, my entire family used the same doctor for decades for exactly the same reason even when we moved to an inconvenient location. But wherever we are, the bottom line remains: clarity in explaining what is happening, what can be done and what is likely to happen, in words that people with no medical knowledge can understand.
Once this happens, all the patients tell their relatives and friends, and this word-of-mouth spread of information is easily the most valuable marketing asset any organization can have.
If the medical staff in Vietnamese hospitals does this, it will make a big difference.