Study Suggests Medical Trainees Need More Manners
Researchers at Johns Hopkins Hospital and the University of Maryland Medical Center, both in Baltimore, identified an overall lack of “common courtesy” shown by internal medicine trainees in their interactions with patients.3 Such behavior can lead to lower patient satisfaction and worse medical outcomes, note the authors of the study, which included hospitalist Leonard Feldman, MD, FACP, FAAP, SFHM, an assistant professor of medicine at Hopkins.
The study, published in the November issue of the Journal of Hospital Medicine, followed 29 interns on rounds for three weeks and looked for five key strategies of etiquette-based communication. Researchers found that while the interns asked open-ended questions 75% of the time, they explained their role to the patient only 37% of the time and sat down to talk eye to eye during an encounter only 9% of the time.
The interns performed all five recommended behaviors only 4% of the time.
“These are things that matter to patients and are relatively easy to do,” Dr. Feldman said in a prepared statement. “They’re not being done to the extent they should be.”
Larry Beresford is a freelance writer in Alameda, Calif.
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