Encouraging an open mind

Encouraging an open mind

Aug 01, 2005

Q. My doctor doesn't like to change. How can I make him more open to new ideas and approaches?

Dr. W. Bradford Swift
"Of course, you need to be diplomatic, but talk to him about his resistance to change," says W. Bradford Swift, DVM, founder of the Life on Purpose Institute in Flat Rock, N.C. "True, it can be intimidating to approach your boss with this kind of issue, but you're in a position to really make a difference," he says.

The first step is to ask the doctor if you can speak with him privately. For example, you might say, "There's something I want to discuss with you. I'm not comfortable talking about it, but it's too important to ignore. Can we set a time to meet?"

Next, share your perception that the doctor seems reluctant to change. If the doctor seems defensive, Dr. Swift recommends reminding him that you value your relationship and your work at the practice. Then close the conversation by saying, "I'll give you a chance to reflect on this. Can we talk again a week from now?"

In many cases, Dr. Swift says, it's what you fear you can't say that ends up running the show. "When you're courageous enough to discuss your fears diplomatically, you're more likely to be heard," he says. "Just remember, the doctor won't change overnight."