First Impression

Setting and meeting the expectation. Everyone has an expectation of what they feel is an appropriate level of care. First impressions occur within the first 1-3 minutes of an introduction. We all form one as a defense mechanism. 

  • Be positive
  • Be confident
  • Be genuine
  • Have open body language.

There are some tricks that we can use to set this impression.

  • Use appropriate eye contact
  • Use a patients name when talking to them multiple times. 
  • Anticipate a patients needs. (If they need a wheelchair or interpreter)
  • Mirror your body language, tone, and speech speed with the patient.

Rapport Building

Build rapport means we want to build trust. This can be done using many different techniques. When people trust us, they are more willing to think more highly of us and be more forgiving. If we share similar experiences with them, we can form bonds with them.

If we can identify areas where patients may be concerned, we can address them up front and let them know we understand. (Ex. Fear, pain, insecurity, time constraint, etc.)

By addressing, relating, resolving, and moving on to a more positive topic, we may have more success getting patients to a level of trust.

Identifying Your Patient

This component is the unique part of FRIEND (TM). It involves us understanding who our patient is. By understanding them, we can meet their needs on their terms. In order to do this, we have to ask ourselves 2 questions and know how to answer them.

Is our patient an introvert or extrovert?


These individuals may demonstrate the following?

  • Talk a lot
  • Expressive
  • May wear flashy clothing
  • Animated
  • May finish your questions


These individuals may demonstrate the following?

  • Quiet
  • Socially awkward
  • Focus on the components of the exam and nothing outside of that.
  • Not as expressive

Is your patient independent or high needs?


This individuals may demonstrate the following?

  • Easy-going
  • Joking
  • Cooperative
  • Follow your lead


This individuals may demonstrate the following?

  • Emotional
  • Upset
  • Scared
  • In pain
  • Not cooperative
  • Be challenging

We can then use this information to create a patient’s profile. There are 4 patient profiles:


Talk to them and show interest. Ask them what they need in order to get through the exam. Let them talk.


Stay on task and be respectful. It is important-though-to be personable and show interest in them.


Anticipate their needs and allow them to take the lead for their own comfort. Maintain their privacy.


These individuals require us to place  focus on respect and efficiency



Now that we know how to approach our patient, we can appeal to them personally. 


To appeal to the introverts we can:

  • Avoid fluff. Stay on task and to the point.
  • Keep your energy moderate to low.
  • Stick to the facts.

To appeal to the extroverts we can:

  • Be pleasant and welcoming
  • Show interest in what they have to say
  • Make their visit personel

To appeal to the independents we can:

  • Show confidence
  • Be efficient
  • Focus on their respect and privacy
  • Tell them what you will be doing step by step

To appeal to the high-needs patient we can:

  • Focus on their comfort
  • Respect and sympathize with their emotional state

Needs of the Patient

Patients come to us because they need help or answers. Meeting a patient’s needs and/or addressing their concerns is very important.

To appeal to the introverts we can:

  • We need to be extra observant to anticipate their needs. Read their body language.

To appeal to the extroverts we can:

  • Ask them what they need and listen without interrupting them.

To appeal to the independents we can:

  • As long as they are treated with respect and they feel you are in their corner, they will be happy.
  • As thus – you need to focus on two important virtues- respect and privacy.

To appeal to the high-needs patient we can:

  • High – needs patients seek and/or thrive on empathy and compassion.
  • Listen to their concerns and act on them.

Delivering Final Impression

Delivering the final impression can, at times, be more important than the first impression. Issues are inevitable during imaging exams. Therefore; we need to make sure these individuals leave feeling like you genuinely care about them.

Discuss the next steps and use individual names (Ex; Dr. smith will follow up with you.)


When letting your patient go, invite them to share their experiences and let them vent. 

Empathize with them and focus on them emotionally. (Ex. Your visit may have been challenging and difficult, but we got through it together and now we can get you the answers you need to feel better)


Summarize the details and ask them if they have questions. 

It is acceptable for conversation to move towards what their plans are for the rest of the day.


It may be difficult reading these individuals as they leave, but you need to trust your skills/instincts as you let them out.

Stick to the important points they need to know and let them feel that you genuinely want them to get better and have answers to why they feel the way they do.


Stick to the facts pertaining to what they need to know. Moments of silence during your interactions are fine. Tell them it was a pleasure helping them today and wish them the  best.

(S)ervice Recovery

In situations that require us to engage in service recovery, we must become FRIEND(S) (TM) with a patient. Service recovery is something that is necessary, at times. 

Each profile may require us to address this in different ways.

The FRIEND program can be intricate and requires training. This is the future of patient satisfaction. 

For more information or to request a site visit for education, contact me at

en_USEnglish (United States)

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