A Square Deal to clear the Air: Managing the Difficult Patient Encounters

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Adnan Riaz
Umair Bin Nasir
Salman Majeed


Introduction: There are a number of patients in every clinical setting who are referred to as "difficult patients," and encounters with them can often evoke negative emotions in doctors. As compared to experienced clinicians, young doctors are often struggling while providing care to such patients. But we surprisingly know very little about young doctor’s perceptions of themselves and difficult patients while encountering them, so without proper understanding, strategies cannot be formulated to handle these challenging situations.
Objective: The purpose of this study is to explore the patterns and contributing factors responsible for the difficult patient encounters faced by young doctors.
Methods: A qualitative study was conducted among the house officers and medical officers of the medicine department at Islam Medical College Sialkot and Khawaja Muhammad Safdar Medical College Sialkot for a period of six months from February 2020 to July 2020. The purposive homogeneous sampling technique was chosen, and five focused group interviews were conducted for the data collection. Data was collected until saturation. The data was organized and entered into the Data Analysis Software NVIVO for the thematic analysis.
Results: Thirty-four participants took part in this study. The results were presented in the form of themes and categories. Patient’s issues, health care issues, and young doctor’s issues were described as three major factors that play role in difficult patient encounters.
Conclusion: Difficult patient encounters are not only due to patients or doctors; rather, they are a multi-factorial phenomenon very strongly influenced by the overall social, cultural, and behavioral associations.

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How to Cite
Riaz, A., Bin Nasir, U., & Majeed, S. (2023). A Square Deal to clear the Air: Managing the Difficult Patient Encounters. Health Professions Educator Journal, 6(1). https://doi.org/10.53708/hpej.v6i1.2224