Patients come in all ages, sizes, and personalities. As a locums physician, you may encounter patients that will question your medical abilities, expertise, and overall sanctity. The Journal of the American Academy of Neurology cited four types of challenging patients that may put your medic mind to the test:
The Helpless Fanatic
Certain patients will go above and beyond to search for a doctor to meet their medical needs. After a few visits, these patients will slyly find ways to retrieve their physician’s personal access by means of flattery or extreme gratitude. Once patients get ahold of an after hour phone number or email, the patient will cling to their doctor for constant advice, demands, and medical instructions.
The Know-It-All Prescriber
Most of us have reached out to a doctor because we know exactly what is wrong with us. For example, if you have strep, most likely you know the tests your physician will perform. However, there are a few patients that will take the reins in the doctor-patient relationship. This patient will tell you exactly what type of test they want or need, and what medications they have to have. If not given, some patients will threaten legal action.
The Invincible Help-Seeker
As a physician, you may encounter patients who view themselves as invincible. Once the patient is diagnosed, they will stray away from any additional help, even with specific advice from their doctor. However, this patient will eventually come back with their own requests and continually deny their physician’s feedback.
Sometimes patients will go behind a doctor’s orders like playing soccer with a sprained toe or sneaking greasy bacon into meals after a high cholesterol diagnosis. While, these issues may not be terribly severe, there are patients who will continually partake in destructive behaviors, known as daredevil patients. Alcohol binging with a failing liver or sun tanning after battling skin cancer warrants “suicide by treatment nonadherence.”
Although most of the patients that fit in these categories suffer from underlying disorders such as depression and anxiety, it is important to understand these challenging cases so you can better prepare yourself and provide value-based care.