Below are the episode show notes and transcript. Some episode transcripts have been edited more than others, but they are up in the meantime to help those who would rather read and for searchability on the web. Extensive editing has not been prioritized as I seek to both produce regular content and maintain my own wellness. Enjoy!

Show Notes

Running behind, so much to do, and yet you have more patients to see.You know what to DO, but the patient and family don’t just want a prescription, they need a personal connection, the bedside manner that makes them feel, “This is MY doctor!”

If you want to see how being present with your patients is good for them AND good for you and your wellness, check out this episode!

Today’s sponsor is the White Coat Investor course “Financial Wellness and Burnout Prevention for Medical Professionals” – Make a financial plan for yourself, learn how to interact with financial professionals, and get 8 hours CME – Check it out here!

Download your Free PDF Efficiency Guide “Maximize Your Clinical Efficiency” with 10 tips for getting your work done faster –

P.S. I have recently moved to less scripting of these episodes (yes word for word at the beginning) to more outlines with a conversational tone…….And now video 🎥📹 (started the MedEdWell YouTube Channel) #outsidemycomfortzone (thanks to Bobby Klinck and Dr. Una for the encouragement!)

These transitions have been good for me, pushed me to grow! 

So thanks to you for…
• Joining me on this journey
• putting up with some extra ums, likes, and pauses
• prioritizing your own wellness


You’re running behind and looking forward to being done for the day. It’s so easy to rush and to be so preoccupied with other things. I have done the same thing and been the recipient too. If you want to be more present with your patients and see how it can help your wellness as a physician in medicine, please listen to the rest of today’s episode. Welcome to the med ed well podcast, where physicians get empowered to take the next step in their wellness, personally, professionally and financially. I’m your host, Dr. Ryan Stegink, a practicing general pediatrician and online entrepreneur. Thank you for joining me on another episode of the med ed, well podcast, we’re on episode 16 and I am so excited to have so many of you join me from the beginning and so many joining along the way. This is about having a movement of physician wellness, be able to support one another and to help each of us take the next step, whether personally, professionally or financially.

So today I’m going to be talking about wellness in regards to how you’re present with your patients, how we move through what that means, what it doesn’t mean and how to encourage one another along this journey. So I want to encourage you to stick around for the rest of today’s episode. Please leave me a review, subscribe to the podcast, send me a message on Instagram or Twitter. I’d love to hear from you, what would be most helpful for you? And I look forward to continuing this journey. I’ve learned a lot, and I’m really excited to bring you today’s episode. Before we get to the rest of today’s episode, let’s hear about today’s sponsor. So the white coat investor has been helping physicians with their financial education. Since 2011, they have a course called financial wellness and burnout prevention for medical professionals. It’s a combination of eight hours of CME lectures around wellness with the fire, your financial advisor course, which goes into a lot of really important things around your finances.

And it was really helpful for me as I finished residency and was newly an attending learning about how do I manage my finances? What can own advisor help with and what things should I be looking to do myself, or at least be better educated about? So I’d encourage you to check out the link in the show notes and go find the financial wellness and burnout prevention for medical professionals course. All right. Now, back to the rest of today’s episode. So being present where you are with patients, this is the first of two part series and being present where you are this first week. We’ll talk about being present with patients and then being present with others outside of medicine that are important to you, that we’ll be talking about what it is not, what being present does not look like, what it is and talk about then how it’s good for patients and how it’s good for you as a physician.

So what is it not, what does it look like when it’s not there? So you may feel rushed. You may feel brushed off that your opinion isn’t really mattered as a patient. I’ve been on the receiving end of some of these types of interactions. And I can see how it has come up in how I move through my schedule, especially when I’m behind. So it’s not very long before we, as physicians interrupt our patients after asking that first question, it’s not very many seconds at all. We’re just trying to, we say we’re active listening, but a lot of times it’s just me wanting to direct things towards some closure when really I need to hear what they have to say as a person. And as someone who’s maybe even just going to tell me a little bit more about their diagnosis and what’s really going on.

If I just stopped to let them have a good 30, 60 seconds to share, sometimes it’s easy, especially on rounds in the hospital to not sit down. Sometimes there may be a brief update or there may not be a good place to, to sit down, but especially with important difficult conversations regarding prognosis, a difficult diagnosis, this is really important to get down at the patient’s level, to be able to say, I’m with you. And I know this was unexpected, and I want to hear how you’re doing with all of this. So another thing that it’s not is not acknowledging their concerns, their stated complaint, if a patient comes in and they have diabetes, but really they’re concerned about their back pain. If they haven’t been in, in awhile and you are more concerned with their diabetes and barely get to their other concerns, they may not feel heard.

And even though you said, this is the most important for you clinically, they may feel, Hey, my doctor doesn’t listen to me. And so it’s a matter of having that shared understanding of this is what’s important to the patient. And even if we don’t have time to address it as fully as they might, like, at least we can note that and say that out loud to make the patient feel no, my docs going to get to this eventually to help me work through this, certainly there are interruptions that come up, whether it’s an emergency down the hall some critical results that your staff pokes their head in and says, Hey, can you step out for a minute? But being present means that when you’re in a patient’s room, that you’re there with them. So moving on from what it’s not to what is being present that involves sitting down, greeting a patient using their name, not interrupting.

I recently earlier this year went to see my family doc. I was the second patient of the morning. Typically I like to be either at the beginning of the morning or the beginning of the afternoon, as I know from my own experience as a physician, the schedule usually runs closer to on-time at that point of the day. And so I was the second patient, but my doc was already a little bit behind and I logged into a virtual meeting I had. And when she finally did get to me, she appreciated my patience and said that, yeah, she had a complex first patient and she wanted to make sure that people felt heard. And then she was there with me, listening to what I had concerns about and wanting to address in the visit. So that really spoke to me and makes me want to stay with her as my physician.

So when I look at how this impacts me as a physician, caring for my patients, I think it involves staying curious, building that rapport, finding out where my patients are from learning a few words in their language. I really enjoy languages. And so I know Spanish and can speak a few words and probably three or four other languages. And it’s just a fun way of saying, I care about you. They feel heard. And it even helps me out when the patient is upset that maybe we’re running behind a little bit. When I greet them in their language, sometimes still I’m able to kind of cut through that tension and get a smile and chuckle too. Sometimes. Yeah. It allows patients to share where they’re at with their mental health, their prior trauma, their sexuality and gender identity, their fears of the future. This is a really important thing.

And we’re going to have quality of care than we need to be able to actually get to the issues that really impact their care. So talking a little bit about what being present is not, and then what is it then? There’s the question of, okay, so how does this help my patients and how does this help me as a physician? How does this help you as a physician? It’s good for patients because they feel heard, they’re more willing to share about these things. Like we just talked about their issues and concerns are actually received and addressed. It also allows for the patients to see that there’s a personal connection. They can say, this is my doctor. It really makes a big difference. Especially when I hear from my colleagues, that one of my patients saw them and they really had a good experience with me and they definitely want to get scheduled back with me.

I see this also for my colleagues as my patients really enjoy getting back to their primary doctor. So it’s also good for patients because not only do they feel heard, but they also feel that their quality of care was higher and allows some of those patient satisfaction questions. Yes, this is a side benefit, but it’s still part of the current healthcare landscape. And as we see in quality improvement, those things that are measured often get better. There are many things outside of our control as physicians today. And I don’t want any of you to feel like you are just a number. These things challenge me too.

And I try and do the best that I can and let the patient know that I am glad to be here with them in this moment. I’m going to give them my full attention, just like I did patients before them. And though that means that I may not be right on time. It means that I’m not going to be blowing them off just to try and meet my 15 minute timer on the appointments. So it’s good for patients, but it’s also good for physicians. There’s the human connection that art of medicine and that relational aspect, that’s more than just a medical life sciences. It’s really important to consider how increased continuity when patients have that connection. If patients like you and keep coming back, it helps not only have better outcomes as patients are more adherent to their treatment plans, but it can help your efficiency because you know them, you know, when they were last admitted to the hospital, you know, some of those social factors, you know, some of the other things that make them a unique individual, this really does matter.

It’s not just access. There’s definitely something to be said for making sure that we are available. And we’re being cognizant of some of these market trends and saying, yeah, people want flexibility. They want it at a particular time that works best for them. And they’re willing to perhaps give up a little bit of that continuity, but when you’re able to both accommodate and still maintain some of that continuity, it really does add something. So not only does it increase continuity and patient satisfaction scores, hopefully leading to maybe less complaints, but the empathy and hearing from your patient is really foundational for good clinical care. And it also can impact your wellness, your wellness as a physician, because presence and that human connection is a huge gift that you can give to them. And that you can receive from your patients. Like we talked about with access commercialization and the commoditization of medicine, taking a moment to really be present can be therapeutic for you and your patient, especially in moments where there may be nothing else that you can do to change their prognosis, just being there.

It really makes a difference. So as we wrap up, I want you to consider how do you want to be present with your patients this week? Consider how have you done this? Well, or maybe not so well in the past. I want you to know that I am right there with you. These things are definitely a work in progress for me too. Thanks so much for joining me on this episode of the MedEdWell podcast, looking at being present with your patients, looking at what it is not, what is it, how it’s good for patients and for us as physicians, I want you to really take a moment and actually make a plan for how you want to take that next step. I also want you to consider how efficiency and taking some of these things into account with either charting or your communication with staff.

Go ahead and download my free guide with 10 tips called maximize your clinical efficiency. And I just wanted to put that out there as a free thing to give you value and to help you. So I want you to check that out. You can head to the link in the show notes and it’ll be med ed guide. And then after that, consider checking out a white coat investor course, maybe the financial wellness and burnout prevention. So again, thank you for joining me here on another episode of the MedEdWell podcast, you all have a great day and I look forward to seeing you back next week.