Skip to content

Working with Difficult Patients- 2

Share this

You don’t like to work with patients that don’t pay bills.  You tell your front desk not to schedule patients that are shopping around.  Patients with piss-poor attitudes stress you out completely and when someone doubts or corrects your recommended treatment, you totally lose faith in what you do.

Here’s the reality behind the above thinking, the more you limit your patient based solely on who you like, who doesn’t stress you out, and who doesn’t push you to the brink of quitting, the harder it is to fill the schedule.  Each patient presents a unique opportunity for you to navigate through the patient experience differently so that you can connect with them and meet their needs.  The reality is that the more adaptable you are with patient types, the more you will be accepting of their unique needs, the broader the patient base, the fuller the schedule, the less stressed out you will feel and the more you will like what you do.

Difficult Patient #2:  The Entitled

Problem: Seniors, highly educated professionals, local celebrities, even spoiled children can fall into this category of irritating patient.  They want discounts and freebies because of their age, title, or position in the community.  They expect to be treated differently than ‘regular people’ and look at you as their concierge doctor, constantly crossing boundaries with unrealistic expectations.

Reality:  No one is born with entitlement issues.  This mentality is created, nurtured, and reinforced by parents, society, media forums, and yearly salaries.  The Entitled are a product of several characteristics that we, as a collective group, bring on ourselves.

Solution:  There are a few important things to working with The Entitled.  First, feel comfortable in your own skin.  This is your practice, your business, and you have the final say.  There’s no reason to have an emotional reaction over someone that literally doesn’t understand that.  Second, have clear and written policies and procedures that apply to every patient.  The moment you give in to one, the word will spread and more of The Entitled will show up.  Third, when you sense someone is feeling entitled and wants something for nothing, smile and simply say ‘no’. If you don’t draw the line, they will and you might not like where that line ends up.

Step 2: Now that you have practiced privately about what you will say and how you will say it, it’s time to go public. Practicing different scenarios of patient types with your team is ideal.   It gives all of you time to figure out how you will win over even the most challenging of patients, what processes/systems are lacking, and it brings you all together as problem solvers.  A trust-building exercise.  Schedule this activity for your next team meeting.

Don’t forget to leave a comment!

Continue reading this series by going to my next post: Working with Difficult Patients- 3

Leave a Comment

Interested in keeping your stress at bay?

Untitled design (23)

Note: If you have thoughts of hurting yourself and/or others, please call the national suicide prevention hotline at 1-800-273-8255 immediately.

Our Mission

Rest from Stress, powered by JB Partners, is committed to teaching Stress Management and Resilience Training through the immersive Rest Membership, interactive workshops, invigorating speaking engagements, and personal business coaching. Our passion is to teach others how to lead a life with less stress and more fulfillment.


3218 E. Bell Rd, #14, Phoenix, AZ 85032