3 things physicians should never say to a patient

Doctor with patient
What shouldn't doctors say to patients?

Words can help bond a doctor-patient relationship ... or create a major obstacle.

So doctors must carefully consider what they say to patients, according to an article in Physicians Practice. The publication asked doctors to comment on some of the worst things that a practitioner can say to a patient.

Here are three tips based on their responses:

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Don't undermine yourself. "A patient told me the worst thing you can say as a doctor is, 'Umm…I don't know.' It doesn't provide a lot of confidence," said Deborah Winiger, M.D., who practices family medicine in Vernon Hills, Illinois.

Treat your patient like a person. "I would recommend always starting with 'people' and then move to 'task.' Be warm [and] take a little time for small talk,” said David J. Norris, a Wichita, Kansas, anesthesiologist.

It’s not just what you say that matters. "It has more to do with nonverbal communication," said James Legan, M.D., an internist in Great Falls, Montana. Don't appear indifferent or distracted.

And remember, doctors and patients can both be bad at communicating with each other, so it’s not all on you when problems occur.