1. Maintain Composure
- Notice your emotional temperatiure - upset / defensiveness / negative assumptions and self talk.
- Breathe / exercise constraint / depersonalize the situation.
- Focus on the matters at hand / ask yourself good questions / begin to frame the problem.
- Do not interrupt – let the patient state the complaint.
- Listen for the central problem, issue, need or want vs. listening to the story, upset, or make wrong.
3. Acknowledge the situation and feelings.
- Thank the patient for voicing their complaint.
- Authentically apologize for the situation if appropriate – inconvenience, etc.
- Listening and acknowledging a patients issues is the first and most important step in resolving any problem situation.
- Empathize vs. Sympathize related to a patient's upset or feelings - I understand how you feel - does not mean you agree with how someone is feeling.
4. Restate the Problem / Probe For More Information
- Restating the problem insures you clarify what the problem is before proceeding to find a solution.
- Let me see if I understand your concern. As I understand it________( restate the problem and what you perceive the patient needs or wants.)
- If you are unable to determine what the problem or issue may be, ask questions to better understand the situation (what happened?).
5. Propose A Solution / Commit to Getting Back to The Patient
- Propose a solution to the problem.
- Provide patients with information that would enable them to better understand or deal with a situation – policy or procedure guidelines.
- Commit to getting back to the patient if you require input from others – specific time.
6. Ask For Feedback Or Alternatives
- Would that work for you?
- How would you prefer to have the situation handled?
- What would you need to have happen in order to resolve the problem for you?
7. Restate Solution and Agreements
- Summarize the agreed solution to the situation and confirm any agreements reached related to time lines for solving the problem – I’ll do X by Y time..