Recently an article was written in the New York Times explaining how medical schools are starting to conduct personal interviews, as well as testing, to determine an applicant's interpersonal skills, in addition to their academic achievements for entry into medical school. It's about time!
There has always been the undertone that when doctors are being trained, more focus should be placed on their listening skills and the importance of how well they interact and communicate with others. Well now some schools are taking this more seriously.
The administration of the medical schools realize that even though someone may be good on paper, if they cannot listen to their patients, work well with other doctors and nurses and try to be part of an effective healthcare "team," the end result will not be a good one. It is just as critical for a doctor to be liked by his/her patients and colleagues and trusted for their personality, as it is their credentials.
Years ago I took a course at the "Mini Medical School" which was held by RWJ/UMDNJ Medical School. They expresed how important they thought it was for their doctors to learn how to effectively listen. They explained how MOST diagnoses can be made JUST be a doctor listening to complaints and symptoms alone, without even conducting an exam or any testing!
Too many doctors don't listen to the patient carefully and miss key clues that would help them treat the patient to the best of their ability. I found that refreshing to know that some schools were still trying to teach these points to medical students and was hopeful that this would impress many students who came through their doors.
I am attaching the article so you can see the information about the medical schools' new approach and their mission with same.
When you are sick, hurt, scared and confused, the last thing you want is someone who won't listen to you or isn't kind to you. Doctors need to remember why many of them get into this field in the first place - to help and heal people. What better way to do so, then with care and kindness.
Some people are naturally good communicators and friendly and some have to try harder. When you are in a career that requires you to deal with many people on a daily basis, some that are sick and scared, this becomes a necessary attribute.
So we thank the doctors out there now who have a wonderful "bedside manner" and make our health care journey an enjoyable one and ask the doctors who are not so "people friendly" to put themselves in our shoes and consider how they would like to be treated when seeking help that will effect their lives.
As with any career field, when you can no longer handle dealing with people on a regular basis and find yourself being short, rude or inconsiderate, time to change careers!