A Gentle Touch a Day Keeps White Coat Syndrome Away


A medical assistant should know how and be able to provide a personal and caring touch that helps a patient feel comfortable, or at ease. This does not have to always be a physical touch, but can be as little as a friendly gesture and positive attitude. Establishing a pleasant environment can be very important when measuring vital signs; for instance, did you know  that a person’s blood pressure reading will tend to be higher in a hospital, or medical center environment? Yes this is correct. With all of the hustle and bustle on the floors, phones ringing, conversations everywhere, white walls and the pre-mindset, or the hypochondriasis of medical office and hospital settings, these will definitely cause ones blood pressure to rise.

A medical assistant must have the pre-mindset that this hypochondriasis, or more commonly known as white coat syndrome anxiety exists in most patients to varying degrees. The vital signs are the doctor’s window to a persons body, condition, and mindset.  The blood pressure typically rises and falls with the effect of external stimuli, but  the healthcare provider is looking for a BP that is obviously to high, or too low.


The physician is also looking for consistency in blood pressure (BP) readings. The medical assistant can assist the doctor and the patient in getting a more accurate and consistent reading. This can be done by first starting a conversation with the patient; a little friendly talk. Make sure the patient realizes that you are listening.


Give the patient feedback when they tell you about how their day is going, share their health concerns, or describe the pain they are experiencing.  Give a smile or tell a joke if the moment calls for it.  We are not saying that you have to be a psychiatrist. You don’t need to try to solve people’s personal problems.  Your objective is to get the patient to relax and get good vital sign readings. You will find that the elderly and young children would need a little more of your personal touch than others.  If you can get them to smile, it might just make their day a little brighter, and therefore yours, and the doctor’s as well.

More at Medical Assistant NET on the Web.

About Danni R.

What I do: Develop websites, write articles and publish informational content dedicated to past, present and future medical assistants, medical billers and coders, and other members of the allied healthcare professions.
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