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Tag Archives: bedside manner

Reflections on Patient-Physician Communication

LidiaSchapiraby Dr. Lidia Schapira

During my years of training to become a hematologist-oncologist, I was privileged to observe senior physicians interact with their patients. I often wondered how these conversations would impact on the way each patient coped with his or her diagnosis, and how they would be remembered. Attending physicians had very different bedside ‘manners’ and it soon became apparent that some felt comfortable with emotional expression while others were reserved and distant. It is as hard to find words of comfort during bad news conversations as it is to devise a treatment plan for acute leukemia. I wondered too about conversations with roommates, assigned by chance, and about the casual chatter with the individual delivering a breakfast tray or taking out the trash. I appreciated the fundamental role of nurses, present at the bedside far longer than anyone else, listening, debriefing and providing counsel, and whose job involved the most basic and representative of all empathic acts: touch.


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Multiple Mini-Interviews for Medical Admissions: It May Be New, But Is it Definitely Improved?

by Jonathan Klein, MD

Doctors save lives, but they can sometimes be insufferable know-it-alls who bully nurses and do not listen to patients. Medical schools have traditionally done little to screen out such flawed applicants or to train them to behave better, but that is changing.

Above is the provocative introduction from a July 10th New York Times article discussing a supposedly new trend championed at Virginia Tech Carilion, the newest medical school in the USA, which has eschewed the traditional sit-down medical school admissions interviews in favour of multiple mini interviews (MMI). This format uses fast-paced, often ethically-based questions to assess candidates on their interpersonal and communications skills.

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