In emergency situations, one often does not have the benefit of an ongoing doctor-patient relationship. There are some easy things that emergency physicians can do to build rapport and trust. Most revolve around communicating the perception of listening and caring. Physicians should greet patients by name and introduce themselves, shaking hands when appropriate. Physicians should sit down whenever possible—regardless of how long physicians actually remain in the room, patients perceive it as much longer. When touching patients, do so gently with an air of caring. Respect a patient's privacy by closing curtains and exposing only that which is necessary. When clinically appropriate, listen to a patient's overall agenda—it may save time. Do not use complex language. If a patient is lying down, sit or bend down and put your eyes at the patient's level. Set expectations for a patient with the first encounter, i.e., "results will be back in 2 h, and I'll be back to discuss them then," or "I have a critical patient to care for but you'll be next." Finding a small need that you can fulfill (e.g., a glass of water, a pillow, a phone call) will help establish rapport.
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