• General Dermatology
  • Eczema
  • Alopecia
  • Aesthetics
  • Vitiligo
  • COVID-19
  • Actinic Keratosis
  • Precision Medicine and Biologics
  • Rare Disease
  • Wound Care
  • Rosacea
  • Psoriasis
  • Psoriatic Arthritis
  • Atopic Dermatitis
  • Melasma
  • NP and PA
  • Skin Cancer
  • Hidradenitis Suppurativa
  • Drug Watch
  • Pigmentary Disorders
  • Acne
  • Pediatric Dermatology
  • Practice Management

Alanna Bree, MD, Offers Pearls on How Clinicians Can Better Meet Patients’ Emotional Needs


Remembering that skin conditions are not just physical, but also have a significant emotional impact, is critical to treating the whole patient.

Alanna Bree, MD, pediatric dermatologist and founder of Made a Masterpiece, has made it her mission to help kids with skin conditions learn to love the skin they are in. At the 2023 Society for Pediatric Dermatology Meeting in Asheville, North Carolina, Bree discussed how dermatologists can support patients emotionally, socially, and spiritually in her presentation, “Made A Masterpiece: Helping Our Patients Face the World with Confidence.”1

Bree emphasized the importance of reclaiming the “why” in your practice. Many aspects of practicing medicine compete for time and focus and can cause clinicians to lose enthusiasm for treating patients. She also said that clinicians need to recognize their own limitations and that self-care is important to avoiding burnout. Taking time to remember why you chose the field of pediatric dermatology will help in treating patients and their outcomes.

She said using the word “love” can be transformational and can convey kindness, forgiveness, acceptance, and openness, as well as be nonjudgmental, affirming, and respectful.

She also encouraged clinicians to maintain an open heart and commit to viewing others in a positive light. By seeing the best in young patients, it reinforces to them that they can be successful. “Sometimes you don’t have to have an answer. Sometimes our patients just need to know that they’re seen and heard,” Bree said.

When patients visit their dermatologist, they are suffering physically, socially, emotionally, and psychologically. Patients and their parents are scared about the effects of their skin condition, not only in the short-term, but also in the long-term. They do not know how their very visible condition will affect the possibility of making friends, working, and getting married.

Bree noted that it is not unusual for fear to be expressed as anger, frustration, and even hostility toward the provider. She encouraged clinicians to see the situation from the patient’s perspective. Bree included video interviews of patients and parents explaining how they are not just a case, but a person, and that they do not like for a provider to immediately start taking photos of their unique skin condition.

Little things like sitting while talking to patients, eliciting expectations from patients and parents, and giving them a sense of control in decision-making will increase patient satisfaction. Providers should also try to establish a rapport within the first 30 seconds, repeat what the patient is

saying, address quality of life issues, and allow patients to review details of the treatment plan.

Bree also touched on the power of prayer and how she uses prayer in her patient interactions. Most important, remember to smile.

These actions can lead to higher levels of patient and provider satisfaction, reduce the risk of medical errors, and reduce the likelihood of lawsuits. In addition, the chances of the patient visiting the emergency department decrease, treatment adherence increases, and patients will show improved symptoms at 3 weeks if patients feel that their expectations for the visit were met.

Made a Masterpiece provides patients with education to better understand their condition and providers with resources to help support those patients. The organization also offers Masterpiece Mentors for patients, as well as cards that patients can give to others to educate and explain their condition.


  1. Bree A. Made a masterpiece: Helping our patients face the world with confidence. Session presented at 2023 Society for Pediatric Dermatology Meeting; July 13-16, 2023. Asheville, NC.
Related Videos
© 2024 MJH Life Sciences

All rights reserved.