An Italian word that perfectly captures how you should run a patient consult

Words by Craig Hankridge

Some of the best things in life come from Italy.

Pizza, pasta, gelato, espresso, football (this is still contentious) as well as some of the biggest fashion brands in the world. It is from these high-end brands that we pick up our health-related pearls today. 


According to our trusty mates at Wikipedia, Sprezzatura is defined as an Italian word meaning 'a certain nonchalance, so as to conceal all art and make whatever one does or says appear to be without effort and almost without any thought about it'. 

It originally related to fashion and having a killer outfit without looking like you have gone to much effort. So what does this have to do with you and your patients? 


As an expert, a health practitioner, someone that your patient has sought out or has been referred to specifically it is your role to control the patient experience to positively influence patient outcomes. 

Our clinical skills, the assessments, diagnostic tests, treatment interventions and progress timelines can legitimately seem incredible to patients. What is normal for you can be extraordinary to a patient. 

What is even more extraordinary is when you do it as if it is natural and comes easy. We aren't here to be ordinary, look like we are struggling and to do things at the bare minimum, we are here to be world-class. 

To leverage this even further and to maximise the rapport we build in each consult, let's squeeze in some Sprezzatura. 

1) Relax

Let's be calm, cool and collected. If we don't feel that way then let's fake it until we make it. To get your patient to open up, buy-in and trust what you are advising you need to be on top of your game. 

2) Slow and purposeful

Just like a quality soft tissue exercise, rushing it achieves very little. Be purposeful with your words, with your assessments and with your education. When in doubt, err on the side of talking slower. Remember, we need our key points to be retained by our patient after they leave. 

3) Duck on a lake

The cool and calm, the slow and purposeful won't always be accurate of how you feel or true to what your brain is doing as you problem solve. That's why we consult like ducks on a lake. Smooth on the surface but with churning legs underneath the water. 

Explain the pathology, educate on the steps forward but let your mind be two steps ahead, churning away! 

4) When in doubt, Sprezzatura it out

As we touched on it point number one sometimes you have to fake it until you make it. It might be the first time you have seen a tricky case, potentially the first time you have seen a patient out of Uni. Whatever the case may be, acting as if you are across it all and have been through it before puts both your patient and yourself at ease, therefore, delivering a better outcome for all. The difference between those who are good and those who are great is consistency. Deliver your best work when you know exactly what the problem is, but also when the signs aren't so clear. 

Action points

  • Be calm on the surface but working at 100% underneath 
  • Be consistent by backing yourself - all day, every day
  • Work hard and hustle in the background but deliver results as if they are easy.


Interested in maximising your skills? We can help! Check out our tailored programs that take practitioners from good to world-class.

Craig Hankridge