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View Poll Results: Does a doctor's bedside manner (i.e. personality, etc.) matter to you?
It's extremely important to me. I want a doctor I can relate to as a person. 26 44.83%
It's nice if we can hit it off, but if we don't, it's not worth changing doctors over. 13 22.41%
My doctor could be the biggest stick in the mud of all time as long as he knows what he's doing. 17 29.31%
What an odd question! I've never even given it any thought. 2 3.45%
Voters: 58. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 10-23-2018, 05:25 PM
Location: Salt Lake City
21,278 posts, read 20,883,681 times
Reputation: 9959


Originally Posted by JONOV View Post
For your internist, I'd find someone that was both competent and personable. For a specialist I'm less concerned about personality.
Agreed. I'll probably give this new guy one more chance before I start looking elsewhere.
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Old 10-23-2018, 05:31 PM
Location: Salt Lake City
21,278 posts, read 20,883,681 times
Reputation: 9959
Originally Posted by Submariner View Post
Since I retired, I have had a couple PCPs who were MDs. But most of my PCPs have been NPs or PAs. For the most part I prefer my PCPs to be NPs or PAs.

Recently I have been dealing with prostate cancer. My urologist surgeon is very focused, he tried once to crack a joke, so he tries. [during my prostate surgery, he removed my nerve bundle which left me impotent. In a follow-up visit, he gave me an injection that was supposed to cause an erection. It did, and that lasted for over 5 hours. Just as the injection was starting to have an effect, his 'joke' was telling me to see if I could sneak out of his office without anyone noticing that I was 'tenting'. ]
Now that's the kind of humor I appreciate in a doctor. Sometimes our physical conditions can be considered off-limits when it comes to humor, so interjecting a comment like that would have really made me like him.

I am seeing an oncologist too. A friend told me that he has a lousy bedside manner. The first time that I met him, we hit it off great. He was formerly a Chemical Engineer, he got bored with engineering and decided to go into oncology. He still thinks and talks like an engineer though. He would have fit nicely onboard a submarine.

Yeah, it's funny how different doctors' personalities can affect different people differently. I know that women either LOVED my ob/gyn or HATED him. His humor was pretty off the wall, and some women actually found it inappropriate. I just thought he was amazing and caring and funny and compassionate and knowledgeable and you name it. Different strokes for different folks, I guess.

I wish you well in your cancer treatment.
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Old 10-23-2018, 05:32 PM
Location: Salt Lake City
21,278 posts, read 20,883,681 times
Reputation: 9959
Originally Posted by Retired in Illinois View Post
It's tough to know that every patient can , and do, sue a doctor out of existence should some thing go amiss.
Yeah, but they all want you to sign arbitration agreements instead, and since you think that things only "go amiss" for other people, you end up signing them. I always worry when I do that.
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Old 10-23-2018, 05:35 PM
Location: Salt Lake City
21,278 posts, read 20,883,681 times
Reputation: 9959
Originally Posted by stan4 View Post
I'm a doc and for my docs, competence is #1 in my book.
Then communication (very close second).

Personality or touchy-feelies is last on my list (weird bc I am always commended re: my sweetness, taking time to explain, etc) of priorities, but it is on the list.
I think it goes without saying that competence is critical! Unfortunately, for me, it's not enough.

The first thing that stuck out to me in the OP: the doc spent 30 minutes with him.
What do you mean, "Wow"? I'd have definitely been annoyed had he given me much less time. He needed to get some good baseline information. I didn't consider myself particularly lucky that I got a whole 30 minutes of his precious time. I always got at least that much time with my previous internist.
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Old 10-23-2018, 05:41 PM
Location: Salt Lake City
21,278 posts, read 20,883,681 times
Reputation: 9959
Originally Posted by jean_ji View Post
Office staff competence is as important as the doctor. If you can get through, messages aren’t returned, etc. it doesn’t matter how good your doctor is if the ancillary staff is poor.
I know what you mean. I have left doctors in the past because of their ancillary staff. My husband had some tests done on his carotid artery back when he was about 60 years old (he's now 76). A few days later, the doctor's receptionist called him and when he picked up the phone, said, "Hello, this is Sue from Dr. Brown's office. Your test results are back. You have the arteries of an 85 year-old man. Have a nice day. Goodbye." We were freaked out. There was no message to come back in and see the doctor again. There was no indication that the condition was treatable. We just felt like she'd told him, "Go to bed. You probably won't live through the night."
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Old 10-23-2018, 05:50 PM
Location: Salt Lake City
21,278 posts, read 20,883,681 times
Reputation: 9959
Originally Posted by gentlearts View Post
A family doctor (internist, g.p.) should be someone whom you have a good rapport with. I would try asking your acquaintances who they go to, and if they are happy.

I’m guessing that on an initial visit, the doctor is also evaluating whether he wants to be your doctor. It’s possible he stays aloof for a reason.

Anyway, you are the customer. You should only buy what you like.
Thanks for the advise! "Aloof" is a good way to describe how he came across.

I found a gem. She is warm and caring, and she trusts that when I tell her I need something, which isn’t often, she believes me and accommodates me. I’m 70, too, OP.
I know that a lot of doctors believe that anyone our age (and especially older) is a malingerer, so I know how important it is that a doctor doesn't just brush you off as a old person who needs to deal with the aches and pains of age. There will probably come a time when I decide to find a gerontologist, but it's not going to be for at least 10 years. I think gerontologists go into that specialty because they actually like older people and don't resent having to treat them.

My mom had a gerontologist she loved and that she had for about 15 years before she died at 96. She thought this woman was the best! She (the doctor) drove me crazy. I always referred to her when talking about her as Eeyore.
Yup, that was her..
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Old 10-23-2018, 10:17 PM
2,225 posts, read 4,406,391 times
Reputation: 4972
I've had a couple minor surgeries and I don't care at all about a surgeon's bedside manner, because other than a pre- and post-op visit, I'm out most of the time they're treat me. Their surgical skill is far more important than how they interact with me, and man, did I have a really nasty one once. But I like my regular doctor to be someone I'm comfortable discussing personal medical issues with, who respects me, doesn't talk down to me, etc., and fortunately, I have one now that is a real keeper.
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Old 10-24-2018, 04:51 AM
Location: NJ
9,206 posts, read 20,221,533 times
Reputation: 6302
Originally Posted by Katzpur View Post
I'm 70 years old, so I've been to a number of doctors during my life. I found a new internist about four years ago and really liked him a lot. This past summer, I got a letter from him saying he was closing his practice and moving out of state. That's the third or fourth time I've had that happen -- i.e. losing a doctor I really liked. Anyway, I don't have any really serious medical issues, but I thought I probably ought to find a new internist now, before I do end up sick. I like to go in for an annual physical and it was getting close to time to do that.

Anyway, I looked online for internists in my area who were covered by my insurance and had high patient ratings. I found one and called his office just last week and was surprised that they could get me in today. I had my first appointment today. After I'd finished filling out all of the new patient paperwork, his nurse took me back to an exam room, where she took my blood pressure and asked me a few questions. Five minutes or so later, the doctor came in.

When he opened the door to the exam room, he didn't smile, introduce himself, shake my hand or address me by name. He was very "professional" in how he talked to me, but was extremely serious throughout the entire half hour during which he was with me. I attempted to lighten up the conversation a couple of times, but he had absolutely zero personality. Throughout the visit, he did not smile even once. Much of the time, his back was to me while he was entering information on his computer. Finally, when he was through with the exam, he said, "Okay, well it was nice to meet you." No handshake in parting, either. I almost thought he might be afraid of catching something from me, even though I wasn't sick at all.

Over the years, I have had two Ob-Gyns, two internists, and two orthopedic surgeons who were all excellent doctors (in terms of their knowledge, etc.) but who also were just friendly, able to make a little small talk, put me at ease, joke around a little bit and come across as one "human" caring about another "human." I've also gone to a few doctors who just rubbed me the wrong way from the get go, and that I went to only two or three times before deciding to find someone else.

Anyway, I've had people tell me "bedside manner" shouldn't matter at all, and that if the doctor knows his stuff, that's all that should matter. I just wanted to get a feel for what some people here on C-D think. Does a doctor's personality matter to you or not?

Find another. I have to click with a Dr. I got one lady with an emergency appointment who actually laughed in my face when I told her my med allergies, she then got a senior Dr who flat out called me a liar when I said I was allergic to a Medrol dose pack.

I immediately sent my GP a message to complain.

Originally Posted by nobodysbusiness View Post
OP: Trust your gut. Use Next Door and Yelp to find someone with good bedside manner. I have had practitioners who were technically superior, but humanly, inferior - and it makes a difference. You want (and deserve) to be treated with respect, interest, and kindness.
Agree, NextDoor or a local FB group
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Old 10-24-2018, 06:11 AM
2,429 posts, read 786,954 times
Reputation: 3122
Competence trumps personality and I'm OK if they're not warm and fuzzy, so long as personality doesn't preclude being able to actually have a conversation. My former urologic oncologist is amongst the elite in his field, but I was afraid to even ask him a question. Early on when I simply asked about getting the results from a test he snapped at me with "I'll tell you if there is something you need to know, I can't be calling every patient with their results". Another time after my visit I was confused about his follow-up instructions as to the timing of a test he wanted done, and the person making my next appt. couldn't tell either. He happens to walk by and so she stops him to ask for clarification. He yelled at her for speaking to him, that it was not her place. He was so angry I was afraid he was going to fire her on the spot. Afterwards I apologized profusely to her for my not understanding his instructions.

Being that doctor was a 4.5 hour drive each way that I had grown weary of doing (in addition to being afraid of my former urologist), I moved my urology care to a teaching hospital only 1.75 hours away. My new urologist isn't going to win any prizes for being warm and fuzzy but he is the top urologist in that hospital and no longer am I afraid to ask questions. That urology practice is as well far more progressive than most in a couple regards that make a huge difference for me as a male patient. It was hard to get the courage to make the change given my former urologist's prestige, but I'm glad I did.

My current primary care is a PA who is all brain and no personality. She has lots of nervous energy and there is no small talk whatsoever, but she listens to what I have to say, answers all my questions, and is very competent. When my former primary care left that practice and I was assigned to her, at my 1st appt. I initially thought to myself what in the world am I supposed to do now given the rather odd duck that she was, but I quickly saw that she was very thorough and proactive on a couple issues that others hadn't paid attention to. I am very happy having her as my primary care.

In a nutshell, I don't need my providers to be my friend. Going to the doctor is not a social event for me. I just need them to listen to what my concerns and questions are and for them to initiate or take action as may be indicated.
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Old 10-24-2018, 06:22 AM
Location: Texas
42,252 posts, read 49,796,479 times
Reputation: 67078
[quote=Katzpur;53445872]I think it goes without saying that competence is critical! Unfortunately, for me, it's not enough.


It does not go without saying as many times less competent providers fly under the radar bc they are so personable.

It's dangerous and we have seen the bad outcomes or unnecessary treatments/tests.
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