Quickly establishing trust is a fundamental part of anesthesiology, and it is even more crucial when sensitive topics like do-not-resuscitate orders or advance directives are involved. Anesthesiologists often have a very short window in which to convince patients and their families that they are competent doctors who care about the patient’s well-being above all else. Additionally, patients who trust their doctors are more satisfied and have better outcomes. When the stakes are high, it helps to establish that trust from the outset.

Trust is a complex concept rooted in a patient’s perception of physician confidentiality, dependability, competence and compassion. Many of the subtle aspects that encourage or diminish a patient’s trust are still poorly understood, especially in the perioperative setting. However, in the primary care setting, we do know that patients generally trust physicians who try to...

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