That is a great question!
It is normal to experience different type of patients with different personalities in the healthcare setting. Handling difficult patients who probably are experiencing pain, or just going through difficult times in life, can be challenging and frustrating at times. Number one: Always, always be kind. You could start by providing a private and peaceful room where patient can vent and where you can listen empathetically without distraction. You can use (MI) Motivational Interviewing techniques (https://motivationalinterviewing.org/) when speaking with the patient. MI is successfully used to shift behavior patterns. Clearly acknowledge the patient's grievances. Apologize for inconveniences, if any. Clearly explain how the problem/issue will be corrected . Protect yourself, if the conversation gets heated , take a break, leave the room, take a deep breath, and ask for help as soon as possible. Once the issue has been resolved, follow up for feedback.
I hope this helps, and I wish you all the best!
The bottom line- try to be sympathetic even if the issue seems minor (like problems with scheduling). Humor can be very helpful but I usually wait until I know the person a bit to avoid sounding like I'm minimizing the issues.
Depending on the rules of the workplace you can also try taking an interest in the person's life. If you remember to ask about the dog, the birthday party, the issues with the car, it can a long way toward building rapport. You can takes a few notes to help you remeber!
Wow, this is the golden question!
I worked in healthcare for many years before teaching in healthcare and I can tell you that there will always be people, no matter how professional and polite you are, who will complain. While they may be few and far between, just one can upset you because you chose this profession to help people.
What I always did to help me to regain control was to step out, take a deep breath (or five or six), smile and go back to my job. It also helps to talk with members of your team.
Good luck and hang in there!