I read this article today.
I have often thought about the kind of doctor I will be. Its hard to not know about how terribly our health care system is failing us- it seems like all it is about nowadays is the bottom line, malpractice lawsuits, and the affordable care act. All of these have strong opinions associated with them. The doctor patient relationship is something that I think most people can agree on.
You want to have a nice relationship with your doctor, because its built on mutual trust. But the broken health care system we are a part of, isn’t fostering good, trusting relationships, its hindering care. In order for a primary care doctor to make a doctor’s salary, they have to carry a load of 2,500 patients, seeing up to 24 a day at clinic’s I have shadowed at. In this article, which focuses on the emergency room setting, those docs are also prone to the pressure to see more patients, who are often in more critical situations.
One thing I’m glad they focused on was the changes in medical education. Since obviously we aren’t doing something right, it is a good idea to look to who is teaching our doctors and see what we can change there. I think teaching social skills is sort of impossible though. Some people have it, other don’t. What they can teach though, is the psychology. What do people like? More specifically, what do patients like in a doctor.
I think focusing on how your behavior comes off, and getting feedback on your bedside manner, are excellent and extremely valuable ways to make sure that the care we take a lifetime to master, come off in the best possible way and is received well. Everyone can improve on little things that are so important- the eye contact, the introduction, body language etc. And I hope that I am taught these things at my school, or at least get to practice and get criticism from standardized patients, doctors, and professors.
A doctor has to walk a delicate line in a short amount of time. We, myself included, want our doctors to command respect, but not be arrogant. We want competence perfectly dosed with compassion. We want fast results and answers but not hasty conclusions. We want someone that listens but knows all the answers. Its almost impossible to be that balanced all at once for a less than 30 minute appointment.