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Nurse midwife Major Christine Gundel (right) checks on Monica McCoy, a patient at the Maternal Child Unit at the Malcolm Grow Medical Clinic, Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, USA, before her Caesarean section

bedside + manner, from the fact that doctors and nurses usually stand or sit at their patients’ bedsides when talking to them.



bedside manner (countable and uncountable, plural bedside manners)

  1. The ability of a doctor, medic, nurse, or other healthcare professional, to interact with his or her patients. [from 19th c.]
    • 1848 July 29, Thomas Wakley, editor, The Lancet: A Journal of British and Foreign Medical and Chemical Science, Criticism, Literature and News, volume II, London: Printed for the editor, and published by George Churchill, 423, Strand, OCLC 60766907, page 131, column 2:
      In physic, a graceful Lord Charles, with a sweet bedside manner, might be very formidable; and, by degrees, the awkwardness of the fee might be got over. [Quoting the Edinburgh Review.]
    • 1884 March 15, “Annals of a winter health resort”, in Punch, or the London Charivari, volume LXXXVI, London: Published at the office, 85, Fleet Street, DOI:10.11588/diglit.17756.11, OCLC 729656303, page 121:
      Lady Visitor. "Oh that's your Doctor, is it? What sort of a doctor is he?" / Lady Resident. "Oh well, I don't know much about his ability; but he's got a very good bedside manner!"
    • 1898, B[ithia] M[ary] Croker, “chapter XXVI”, in Miss Balmaine’s Past (Lippincott’s Series of Select Novels), Philadelphia, Pa.: J. B. Lippincott Company, OCLC 37225286, page 204:
      "You will soon be all right, my fine fellow," said the London surgeon reassuringly. He was renowned for his sympathetic bedside manner.
    • 2001, Paul Carrick, Medical Ethics in the Ancient World (The Clinical Medical Ethics Series), Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press, →ISBN, page 100:
      [W]e turn now to explore four additional Hippocratic works that promise to shed more light on the values and conduct of the ancient physician. [] Since they address such topics as professional conduct between physicians, bedside manners, proper decorum, and handling difficult patients, these four works are traditionally counted as the basic Hippocratic guide to sound medical etiquette.
    • 2013, Mark T. Hughes, “Thinking about Medicine”, in John A. Flynn, Michael J. Choi, and L. Dwight Wooster, editors, Oxford American Handbook of Clinical Medicine (Oxford American Handbooks), 2nd edition, Oxford; New York, N.Y.: Oxford University Press, →ISBN, page 3:
      Our bedside manner matters because it indicates to patients whether they can trust us. Where there is no trust, there can be little healing. A good bedside manner is not static: It develops in coordination with the patients' needs, but it is grounded in the timeless clinical virtues of honesty, humor, and humility in the presence of human weakness and human suffering.

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