A Physician Offers Advice On Overcoming Perfectionism in Patient Encounters

As a healthcare provider, you face a challenging dilemma: on the one hand, there’s pressure to “know everything.”  On the other hand, you don’t.  How do you manage the tension?

Yesterday, I asked pediatrician Dr. Jim Weidner how he handles that tension in his practice, and he shared the following suggestions with me:

  • Even though you expect yourself to be perfect, your patients don’t.  They understand you’re human, and that should take some of the pressure off.
  • When you make a mistake, it’s good to apologize and admit it.
  • Finally, when you don’t know the answer to a question, or what to do next, just say so.

Of course, following this advice is easier said than done, but it becomes easier with practice and a growing security in the gospel.  When we realize that God accepts us because of what Christ did, we don’t need to obsess about how patients perceive us.  Interestingly enough, when providers are not focused on how they’re coming across, they’re more able to “be with” patients, which results in better care and patient satisfaction.


About Bryan Stoudt

On my personal website (bryanstoudt.com), I help Christians follow Jesus in a noisy, broken world. I also have the privilege of helping Philadelphia's healthcare students and professionals do this as Area Director for the Christian Medical & Dental Associations (CMDA). More information at cmdaphiladelphia.org. On a personal note, I'm fortunate to be married to my wonderful wife, Sharon. Together, we have four fantastic children. In my spare time, I enjoy roasting coffee, running, reading and learning foreign languages.
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