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Doctors to be trained in bedside manner

4th November 2009

Ros Levenson, a Lay member of the General Medical Council, explains how doctors are being taught a better bedside manner.

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Doctors are often present at critical times – birth, death, or illness. However, their medical knowledge and clinical skills may not be enough on their own.

It is the bedside manner that adds that additional dimension.

While there is wide recognition of the importance of ‘bedside manner’ and its impact even affecting the recovery process, there has been an assumption in the past that doctors were naturally good communicators or they would naturally go on to learn that skill.

But that is not certain and that is why I believe that we can and should provide them with the tools and training to be effective communicators.

The new edition of Tomorrow's Doctors, published by the General Medical Council (GMC), now requires medical schools to ensure that their students can communicate effectively, whether that is breaking bad news or discussing a treatment plan with a patient.

Within that, medical students need to know how to pass on information to colleagues or offer feedback.

Some students may find communication skills a hard lesson to learn but it is important they do communicate effectively, though we should expect support to be provided for students who are struggling in these areas and help them develop their confidence and communication skills.

Student assistantships, in which students act as assistants to a junior doctor, can help.

The doctors of tomorrow must continue to improve their bedside manner and respond to what their patients tell them.

 

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Comments

stan zelek

Wednesday 11th November 2009 @ 23:32

Yes! most definitely...ALL doctors need to improve bedside manner.Healing comes in many ways....


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