Put It There…A Vote for the Handshake

You know, I’ve not posted in a while and that’s because lately I’ve been much busier in the hospital and elsewhere. My assignment is different this month because I’m staffing a general psychiatry inpatient unit, something I’ve not done in ages.

It’s a good thing a couple of very sharp residents were assigned to me.

At any rate, I’ll be writing shorter and fewer posts for at least the next several weeks and possibly longer. But I just a Medscape article about how doctors manage their rapport-building with patients, specifically regarding the simple handshake:

I’m not a fan of the fist bump. Some men can get a little overly vigorous with handshakes, so I try to stay away from any physical greeting that could result in pain. You can insert your thumb into a handshake to protect yourself from the crushing gripper, but it might be difficult to avoid the pile driver fist.

I’m pretty good about hand-washing so I prefer handshakes. I think patients like it as well because most of them are familiar with the custom.

I can gather important information when someone refuses my proffered hand. Then I know that rapport-building will require something different in order to build trust.

I still try to sit down with the patient whenever I can, to bring us at least a little closer to eye to eye level. I like to smile because I like to see others smile.

A relationship can start without touch or even words.



  1. This fist bump thing is like a zombie–it just won’t die.

    So I found this YouTube video of what is probably a pretty germy bump/slap handshake (OK, so it’s slap happy, not bumpy). The handshake still gets my vote. Let’s get over the fist bump!


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