Clinical Pearl Wednesday #129

Response Consulting Problem Solution  - geralt / Pixabay

Provide realistic expectations to your patients during visits! This is critically important for the efficiency of your practice and also patient satisfaction.

One of the biggest complaints you will hear from patients will be that the provider did not spend enough time with them. While we as nurse practitioners are typically short on time due to a busy patient workload, the patients don’t understand this. For this reason, set the expectation right from the start! I have found that patients actually appreciate this if said in a kind and caring way.


At my men’s health clinic, initial visits typically last 45 minutes and follow ups can last about 10-15 minutes. At the beginning of the visit, I will say “Hi David, it is a pleasure to meet you. I look forward to helping you with your men’s health needs. We have approximately 45 minutes to go over your issues and find a mutual plan of action to help alleviate your symptoms and health issues.” I set the 45 minute expectation RIGHT FROM THE START! I have never heard a complaint about it.

At my medical cannabis clinic, the visits only take 10 minutes typically as this is a very easy niche practice (all you are doing the majority of the time is qualifying them for a medical card based on previous medical history). Most visits organically only take 10 minutes and are unremarkable, but occasionally I will have a patient that appears anxious about the process, so I will say “Please do not worry about this process, it is very simple and will only take us 10 minutes. Trust me, I have been doing this for some time and you will be amazed at how simple this was once we are finished.” After the visit, they always look at me with a smile and say “I have been stressing out about this all week, thank you so much for making this painless and simple.”

So, consider stating the time limit of the visit right from the start in a kind and caring way. I promise you, most patients will appreciate that and it will make your practice more efficient!

2 Responses

  1. Love this piece of information, it’s crucial to set the type of environment and time frame in regard to each visit. The example that you relay is ideal in any setting. Thank you!

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