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Nursing and medical schools have come to realize how important it is to not just focus on the practical side of patient care—administering medicine, assessing symptoms, and more—but also the emotional side. Bedside manner is a critical element of being a doctor, nurse, or caregiver.

Here are a few key reasons that sum up the importance of bedside manner:

  • It builds patients’ trust. Small signs of empathy—a nodding head, open-ended questions—from a doctor or nurse show their patients that they have their best interests at heart.
  • It increases a patient’s chances of success. When a patient trusts their healthcare professional, they’re more likely to follow their orders and as a result, hopefully, recover as quickly as possible. According to a 2014 study, therapeutic clinician-patient relationships have a statistically significant effect on health outcomes.
  • It makes for a more fulfilling career. For medical professionals, seeing how their bedside manner helps patients—whether through emotional or physical improvements—reminds them that they’re making a positive impact through their work.

Though many healthcare professionals question whether bedside manner can be taught, a 2011 study from Duke University shows that it can be. Oncologists who listened to a CD tutorial about bedside manner tips treated patients empathetically twice as often as the doctors who hadn’t used the CD.

With both audio and visuals, a video tutorial is even better at helping care professionals improve their bedside manner. A video can demonstrate not just what to say to patients, but also what type of body language and expressions are best to show in different scenarios.

To help you improve patient care, this post will walk through the three stages of creating a bedside manner training video. Follow the video planning, creating, and sharing tactics in this guide, and you’ll be set to create a tutorial that improves bedside manner.


Planning Your Bedside Manner Video

A bedside manner training video is a long-term investment—you’ll most likely be showing it to employees for years to come. Make the most of your content by planning out its details beforehand. By mindfully choosing your video format and topics, you’ll ensure that your training is equipped to help your staff form a better bedside manner.

Decide what type of video you want to create

The first step of creating your bedside manner training is choosing what type of video you want to create. If you decide your video format well in advance, you’ll have enough time to form and secure a video budget, along with other resources you may need.

There are two main types of video to consider: live action and animated. We’ve broken down the pros and cons of each format to help you choose the best one for your needs.



  • Realism. You can show what a patient-client interaction actually looks like to give viewers a clear, accurate idea of great bedside manner.
  • Personal. Your employees will be able to relate to the video when they see footage of their coworkers and workplace.


  • Costly. To make a high-quality live-action video, you have to pay expensive professional equipment rental fees and actor paychecks, and it takes a lot of time to film and edit.
  • Difficult to update. Re-shooting is too expensive and cumbersome to do frequently.




  • Lighthearted. The stylized look of animation makes the potentially heavy topic of bedside manner feel less serious and more approachable.
  • Easy to update. Adjustments can be made quickly from your computer with animation software, like Vyond.


  • Accuracy. Animated video is more abstract, so it won’t capture the details of a scenario as precisely as live-action footage.

Once you choose your format, build a list of everything you’ll need to create this type of video. Not sure what you’ll need? We recommend checking out this Adorama guide for live-action videos and this Vyond guide for animated videos.

Include a mix of lessons

A great bedside manner does two things: shows empathy and encourages conversation.

  • Show empathy. Undergoing medical treatment can be a rough, painful experience. Patients who feel like their caregivers understand what they’re going through are going to appreciate and trust their healthcare professionals.
  • Encourage conversation. Doctors and nurses are more capable of helping their patients recover if their patients speak openly about their condition.

Include advice on both empathizing and prompting discussions to help care professionals build a full set of great bedside manner.

Here are a few tips on showing empathy that you can include:

  • Greet the patient by name. Instead of diving right into a treatment plan or the bad news of a prognosis, start by saying hello. The greeting is the first step towards making the patient feel acknowledged and understood.
  • Make eye contact. By looking at your patient as they speak, you show that they have your attention and you’re interested in what they have to say.
  • Nod your head. As your patient describes their condition, nodding your head shows that you’re listening and understand what they’re saying.

For encouraging conversation with patients, here are a few tips to include.

  • Use open-ended questions, such as “how does that make you feel?” These questions encourage patients to describe their condition in detail, so their doctor or nurse has the information they need to help them recover.
  • Use positive body language. If healthcare professionals fold their arms, it signals to patients that they aren’t receptive to discussing their condition. Maintain an open stance with unfolded arms to show that you’re ready to listen and discuss their issue.

Consult with healthcare professionals

Once you’ve decided on the lessons you want to cover, review your ideas with several professionals at your hospital. These people interact with patients every day, so they know which aspects of bedside manner are the best at building patient-caregiver relationships.

Here are a few questions to ask when sharing your ideas:

  • Are there any other principles you would add for building a better bedside manner?
  • Would you remove any of the principles that were included? Why?
  • What are the biggest bedside manner mistakes that doctors and nurses make?

With this input, you’ll be able to refine your ideas and feel confident that your video covers the most important gaps in bedside manner knowledge.


Creating Your Bedside Manner Video

With your video format and ideas planned, you’re ready to think about how you want your final product to look. If your presentation is engaging, your audience will actually be able to remember and implement the bedside manner lessons. We’ll cover a few key ways to make your video’s key principles clear and memorable, so medical professionals who watch are able to form a better bedside manner.

Show don’t tell

A 2014 University of Iowa study showed that people remember less of what they hear and more of what they see. Based on this research, the key to making your bedside manner video impactful is demonstrating the lessons with actors or characters. The alternative of having a speaker simply talk about the principles isn’t visually striking and more likely to lose viewers’ focus, as shown in the example below:

Play out the bedside manner lessons, and viewers will have a visual memory of your video and be more likely to remember the principles.

Here are a few tactics for showing great bedside manner in your video:

  • Create scenarios. Script how bedside manner would play out between a caregiver and patient, and actors can perform the interaction. For example, the lesson of greeting the patient could be shown by a doctor walking into the appointment room and saying “Hello [patient name], I’m Dr. [doctor’s name].” For each scenario, use text to highlight example sentences that doctors might say to patients.
  • Highlight do’s and don’ts. To illustrate a principle, show an example of a caregiver successfully using bedside manner and another example of a caregiver failing to show the manner. For example, the lesson of positive body language could be explained with a “DO” video of a nurse having an open stance and a “DON’T” video of a nurse with folded arms.

Include text to make your message clear

Along with teaching through demonstration, your video lessons will also be easier to remember when paired with text.

Consider how difficult it is to follow this bedside manner training video. It only features a single speaker without any other visuals or text, so viewers have to listen closely to distinguish between lessons.

Now, consider the animated bedside manner training video at the beginning of this post. The text captions make it easy to know which lesson is being taught.

With text, your video is easier for viewers to follow. Your team will immediately know the principle you’re trying to focus on because it’s spelled right out in front of them.

Here are a few concepts that you can highlight with text in your video:

  • Lessons: Highlight the bedside manner principles that you want to teach with large text, which can be below the main action or placed over it.
  • Dos and don’ts: In a split screen format, place “do” and “don’t” text on top of each screen to show good and bad examples of bedside manner.
  • Example sentences: As a scenario plays out, show via text the phrase that a caregiver should say to the patient.


Sharing Your Bedside Manner Video

Distribution is the final factor that makes a well-crafted training video truly effective. For your video to improve team members’ bedside manner and patients’ experiences, you have to encourage your staff to watch your video. Here are a few distribution tactics to make sure your video is widely watched.

Add your video to onboarding

Start new hires’ careers on the right note by having them watch your bedside manner training video. Though these employees will have probably formed bedside manner habits in previous jobs, your video will still be helpful in setting patient care expectations for your workplace.

As an employee crafting company training, you may very well be responsible for onboarding and can form your own plan for showing the video. If not, coordinate with your HR team member who handles onboarding to figure out how to fit your video in new hire training. Here are a few points to consider:

  • Timing: Consider when the video should be shown during the onboarding process. Ideally, the video is shown in the first week to build the fundamental bedside manner skills as early as possible.
  • Testing: Decide whether you want to create a brief quiz for employees to complete after watching the video to check their understanding.
  • Materials: Help new hires retain the bedside manner tips by offering them a printout with the video’s key lessons after they’ve watched.

Email your video

Your bedside manner video is also useful for your existing employees to watch in case their bedside manner needs improvement. But with a large number of patients, your employees probably all can’t meet at one point in the day to watch your video.

Emailing the video is a more convenient alternative. Caregivers can watch the video at a time that fits their schedule. As a bonus, they’ll have the video in their inbox if they ever want to reference the bedside manner tips again.

Here are a few video emailing tips to help you effectively train employees:

Enable viewer tracking. If you use an enterprise platform like Wistia or Brightcove, you can check which employees have watched your video and send these employees a friendly email reminder to watch a few weeks after your original message.

Insert interactivity: Check your employees’ understanding after watching the video by sending them a quiz. You can either create a free quiz with SurveyMonkey and link to it in your email, or you can insert a quiz into your video with a learning management system, such as Articulate 360.


Improve Patient Experience with Video

Along with clinical skills, being a good communicator is equally important in healthcare. Help care professionals at your hospital build great bedside manner with a well-crafted training video. After watching your video, your team will be equipped to build strong, meaningful patient relationships.