Etiquette of Communication

What is Etiquette?

Etiquette in simpler words is defined as good behaviour which distinguishes human beings from animals.

Human Being is a social animal and it is really important for him to behave in an appropriate way. Etiquette refers to behaving in a socially responsible way.

Etiquette refers to guidelines which control the way a responsible individual should behave in the society.

Need for Etiquette

Etiquette makes you a cultured individual who leaves his mark wherever he goes.

Etiquette teaches you the way to talk, walk and most importantly behave in the society.

Etiquette is essential for an everlasting first impression. The way you interact with your superiors, parents, fellow workers, friends speak a lot about your personality and up- bringing.

Etiquette enables the individuals to earn respect and appreciation in the society. No one would feel like talking to a person who does not know how to speak or behave in the society. Etiquette inculcates a feeling of trust and loyalty in the individuals. One becomes more responsible and mature. Etiquette helps individuals to value relationships.


Etiquette Tips for Medical Practices

By Marisa Torrieri and Aubrey Westgate

Good manners lead to highly satisfied patients. Here are our top 15 etiquette tips for physicians and staff.

  1. Introduce yourself – even if you are wearing a name tag, even if you are the third or fourth person to see patients during their visits, and even if they might never see you again or remember your name.
  1. Ask patients how they would like to be addressed, and address them in that same manner at each visit, beginning when they enter the practice.
  1. Keep perfumes and fragrances to a minimum.
  1. Don’t chew gum! You might think this is a small thing, but it’s often considered very offensive, especially to older patients.
  1. Never let patients hear you complain, especially about co-workers or other patients.
  1. Keep patients apprised of waiting time, and offer to reschedule if the wait is going to be lengthy.
  1. Apologize for delays and thank patients for waiting.
  1. Be genuine and smile often. Remember: You wouldn’t have a practice without your patients.
  1. Avoid the phrase “No problem.” Instead, reply with “My pleasure” or “You’re welcome” when patients (and others) thank you. People don’t want to hear you considered your interaction with them a problem, but then decided it wasn’t.
  1. After escorting a patient to an exam room, ask, “Is there anything I can do to make you comfortable while you wait for the physician?”
  1. Make a physical connection with patients, such as shaking hands, before beginning exams or going to the computer.
  1. Really listen to patients and take action based on what you learn.
  1. Use words patients can understand. They are nervous enough without thinking they are also supposed to know the latest medical terminology and jargon.
  1. Send a handwritten “thank you” note to new patients and referring physicians.
  1. Acknowledge the death of a patient by sending a sympathy note to his or her family.


Etiquette Tips for Physicians and Medical Staff

by Lydia Ramsey

Using good manners and following the rules of proper etiquette can make an incredible difference in how physicians and their staff are viewed by their patients. If patients feel valued by their physicians and have positive interactions with the staff, they are most likely to become longtime loyal customers. Yes, patients are customers, too.

Let me suggest twelve simple etiquette tips for physicians and medical staff that can have a positive effect on patient relations and outcomes:

Stop, look and listen. This rule does not simply apply to the train rumbling down the tracks. It has great value in a physician’s office. While doctors can rarely spare as much time with patients as they once did, the people they treat need not wonder if their doctor is wearing a stop watch or has set an alarm on his smart phone or on his new Apple watch. Slow down. In some instances, stop.

Make eye contact with patients while talking with them. Focus on the patient and not on the computer screen. If your computer is placed in such a way that you must turn away from the patient, get a laptop or reconfigure the computer’s placement.

When you ask the critical questions, pay attention to the answers. Use good listening skills such as nodding at the person, repeating what you have heard and paraphrasing what was said. Avoid the urge to interrupt or finish the patient’s sentence. You could miss valuable information

Practice professional meeting and greeting. Make your introduction warm and friendly.

Smile when you make eye contact . This helps put people at ease and makes them feel welcome and valued.

Use the patient’s name as soon as you can while adhering to patient privacy laws. Address people by their title and last name until you receive permission to call them by their first name.

Introduce yourself even if you are wearing a name badge, which you should be.   Don’t forget to give your title or position so patients will know if they are speaking to a nurse, a technician or a housekeeper.

Let the patient know what is going to happen next. For example, “I am going to get your vital signs now. Then you may have a seat in the waiting area until the doctor is ready to see you.” That is something that is done in my own doctor’s office. The usual custom is to tell the patient that you will be leaving the room and that the doctor will be in shortly.

Someone should keep track of how long the patient has been waiting in the exam room and check back from time to time. Even a prolonged wait will pass more quickly if the patient sees other humans from time to time.

Dress like a professional. Most physicians offer a professional appearance if for no other reason than that they wear a white coat to hide their sins. The office staff is another issue. Some employees wear whatever they choose. Others are required to dress in uniforms. The result is that there is a wide variety in office attire – some of it neat and professional and the other not so much.

Keep office differences under wraps. Not everyone in the office is best friends with or even likes their co-workers. This should not be the patient’s problem. If employees cannot resolve the trouble between themselves, they need to take up their problem with the office manager, not gossip to others in the office and definitely not make their issues public.

In 2008, Dr. Kahn published his etiquette checklist in the New England Journal of Medicine as a simple way for doctors (and medical students) to approach hospitalized patients.

Etiquette Checklist:

  1. Ask permission to enter the room; wait for an answer.
  1. Introduce yourself, showing ID badge.
  1. Shake hands (wear glove if needed).
  1. Sit down. Smile if appropriate.
  1. Briefly explain your role on the team.
  1. Ask the patient how he or she is feeling about being in the hospital.

Source: Kahn M. Etiquette-Based Medicine. N Engl J Med. 2008; 358: 1988-1989.


Interacting with Co-Workers

It is essential for an individual to behave in a socially acceptable way. Etiquette helps an individual to be different and stand apart from the crowd.

One needs to be serious and a little sensible at the workplace. An individual can’t behave the same way at office as he behaves at home. People who lack etiquette are never taken seriously by their fellow workers.

An individual all alone finds it difficult to survive at the workplace. One needs to be a good team player to make his mark at the workplace. He needs to interact with his fellow workers and share ideas to reach to better solutions. Employees must work in unison for faster and effective results. It is essential to maintain healthy relationships with fellow workers as an individual spends his maximum time at the workplace.

Respect your fellow workers. Misbehaving with colleagues spoils the ambience and leads to negativity all around. Treat all co workers as one irrespective of their race, caste, nationality, designation etc.

Spreading baseless rumours about fellow workers is something which is not at all expected out of a professional. Spotting any of your colleagues with his girlfriend has nothing to do with office and thus must not be discussed at the workplace. Avoid playing blame games in organization. An individual should have enough guts to accept his/her mistakes. If you do not like someone, it is better to ignore the other person rather than fighting with him. Remember conflicts lead to no solution.

Be cordial to all. Greet everyone with a smile. It is bad manners to make faces at others. Learn to be a little more adjusting. Things don’t always go your way. Do not take things to heart.

Help your colleagues in whatever way you can. Never give them any wrong suggestions. You will like your job more if you have a friend at the workplace.

Be polite to your fellow workers. If someone shouts on you, never shout back on him. Don’t do what others do. You will not become small if you say “sorry”.

Too much of friendship at the workplace is bad. Being emotional at work is harmful. The other person might take undue advantage of your generous attitude.

Never overreact. It pays to be calm and composed at the workplace.

Avoid taking sides at the workplace. Don’t ask for personal favours from any of your fellow workers. Never ask anyone to do grocery shopping on your behalf or pick your son from school. It is unprofessional.

Avoid being rude to anyone. You never know when you might need any of your fellow workers. Never lash out at others under pressure.

Never interfere in your colleague’s work. It is bad manners to open anyone else’s envelopes or check fellow worker’s emails. Respect your colleague’s privacy. Do not peep into anyone else’s cubicles. Knock before entering your boss’s cabin.

Never make fun of any one at the workplace.

It is bad manners to overhear anyone else’s conversation.

Avoid criticizing others. One needs to be flexible at the workplace. Being rigid spoils relationships.


Bedside-manner tips for doctors


Professional Etiquette (Good Example)