Bedside manner is the term used in doctor-patient relationships to describe how well the physician can relate to the patient when the patient is in need of comfort, reassurance and support when receiving a bad diagnosis or being told they must undergo a painful or dangerous procedure. As physicians are almost universally individuals who are driven, highly intelligent, competitive, socially awkward and busy, in most cases being able to provide this kind of supportive relationship does not come naturally to them. In recent years, both medical education and physician assessment has put much more emphasis on relationships with patients as studies have shown that medical results are superior when patients "buy into" a diagnosis and treatment plan rather than being dictated to by their doctor.
The doctors portrayed on House, M.D. portray a large range of ability to deal with patients:
- James Wilson clearly is the exemplar of a physician who can empathize and deal with patients without becoming overly familiar or attached - maintaining a professional relationship while building a personal one.
- Conversely, Gregory House would prefer not to deal with patients, is curt and often angry with those he must meet, and often acts inappropriately around them.
- Robert Chase also has a good bedside manner, although he has been criticized for complaining about patients behind their back. He is also good when dealing with children, although he often has difficulty dealing with their parents because of this.
- Conversely, Eric Foreman has a passable bedside manner, but is often dismissive with patients (something that is seen in sharp relief with his treatment of Janice Burke).
- Allison Cameron is empathetic, but as people have often noted, she often develops a complete inability to deal with delivering bad news, something that provided a real problem in Maternity when she can't break the news of Baby Boy Chen-Lupino's death to his parents
- Remy Hadley has a good bedside manner, being entirely professional but yet friendly with patients.
- Conversely, Lawrence Kutner was often ill at ease with patients and tended to talk too much, often saying things he regretted saying, then apologizing, then realizing his apology made things worse, and then he would keep talking anyway.
- Chris Taub developed a very good bedside manner, projecting confidence to his patients with a good mix of professionalism and humility. He can be seen exercising his skills when dealing with his very vain plastic surgery patients.
- Like Kutner, Martha M. Masters also had difficulty relating to patients. She would often go off on tangents before coming back to the point. Her roommate Donovan pointed out these deficiencis to her in Last Temptation.
- Jessica Adams treats patients equally despite their social status, something she learned while working in prisons and free clinics. Her manner is consistenly straightforward and professional no matter who she is dealing with.
- Chi Park had some deficiencies in her bedside manner, often trying to be overly familiar with patients, but just as often having difficulty relating to them.