Growing Patient Trust through Empathy in Healthcare


Paul Jaglowski
Patient Experience Strategist
May 9th

Empathy is a game-changer in healthcare. It can significantly boost patient satisfaction and outcomes while fostering trust. Here’s three key ways to ramp up empathy and grow patient trust:


Acknowledge Emotions

Verbalize recognition of patients’ emotions, normalize their feelings, and encourage questions. For instance, a simple ” I can see that this diagnosis has been difficult for you. It’s okay to feel scared and overwhelmed. ” can go a long way in building trust and empathy. Another way is to validate the emotions your patient is feeling.  Consider saying something like, “It’s completely understandable to feel frustrated when dealing with chronic pain. We’re here to support you.”


Communicate Positively

Adopt encouraging and positive communication styles during visits. Use language that reassures and supports patients, such as ” You’re making great progress with your treatment plan. Keep up the good work.” Or by providing reassurance to alleviate any concerns or anxieties the patient may have. You can say something like, “I understand that you’re worried about the test results, but let’s focus on the fact that we’re taking proactive steps to address your health concerns. We’ll navigate through this together.”  These small gestures can reduce patient anxiety and strengthen the therapeutic bond, ultimately increasing trust in the healthcare provider.


Utilize Non-Verbal Ques

Pay attention to non-verbal cues such as facial expressions, body language, and gestures. Maintaining eye contact, nodding in understanding, and using open body language by uncrossing arms, facing the patient, and being on their level can convey empathy and establish trust with patients. Incorporating these small changes has been shown to contribute to increased trust and satisfaction among patients, as they feel understood and supported by the healthcare provider.


By proactively acknowledging emotions, communicating positively, and leveraging technology for empathetic interactions, healthcare providers can enhance the patient experience, foster trust, and deliver higher-quality care.



Ebook – Engaging Your Patients: Pre, During, and Post Encounter


About Nikki Angeli MHA, BSN, RN, CPHQ, CPXP, Patient Experience Strategist: Nikki is a seasoned ICU nurse turned dynamic healthcare consultant, with over a decade of diverse experience across various patient care settings, fostering a profound understanding of healthcare intricacies. Holding national certifications in Patient Experience and Healthcare Quality, their commitment remains steadfast in upholding the highest standards of care. As a dedicated lifelong learner, her passion for continuous improvement and innovative approaches aligns seamlessly with a focus on streamlining healthcare processes for optimal efficiency. Bridging the realms of expertise and innovation, her mission is to contribute significantly to the healthcare landscape, ensuring unparalleled patient care.