The 3 Critical Skills of a Great Health Practitioner
It’s not what you might think! Most people would assume it’s being knowledgable, compassionate, or a good listener. And although these are definitely preferred character traits of a health practitioner, they are not what will make a great practitioner. So how do we define a great practitioner? If I said that a great health practitioner is someone who gets their patients better faster, most people would agree. Results speak for themselves. The reality is that the majority of health practitioners out there are not getting their patients better as fast as possible, despite being a good listener, compassionate, and knowledgable! It’s because they do not do these 3 Critical Things:
Give the patient a Treatment Plan. A treatment plan is what will get the patient better, and as quickly as possible. It’s very rare that someone recovers with just one visit, no matter what their injury or ailment. The treatment plan tells the patient exactly how many treatments will be needed, how often, and with a prognosis. For example, “I need to see you twice a week for 3 weeks to fully restore your neck range of motion”.
- The next step is communicating the treatment plan clearly and logically. The treatment plan has to make sense to the patient. It needs to be based on the clinical findings, and based on best practice methods. For example, “You have a muscular strain of your neck. This type of strain recovers well with manual therapy over 3 weeks, with 2 visits per week to fully restore range of motion.”
- The last is communicating with confidence. With a clear and logical treatment plan, communicating it with confidence (not arrogance!) will create a sense of trust by the patient. This will require a certain amount of self-confidence and conviction in what the practitioner believes is the correct course. A trusting patient will “buy-in” to the treatment plan and be compliant with the practitioner’s advice.
Would this not be a Great Practitioner? Someone who gets their patients better, faster? Absolutely! Yet so many practitioners do not communicate their treatment plans clearly, logically, or with confidence. So what happens? The patient is left to figure it out themselves as to when to come back, or better yet conclude “this practitioner is not getting me better”, and leave to find someone who can. The practitioner despairs; wonders what they did wrong or why the patient no longer sees them. Always remember: It’s never the one “miracle visit”, but the practitioner who clearly outlines the treatment plan and creates trust and buy-in by the patient who will be the Great Practitioner, getting the patients better as soon as possible.