Teaching reflection to doctors to improve physician-patient interactions

Posted on July 16, 2015

Photo: flickr

While using scientific reasoning and research evidence are appropriate, this focus may overshadow subtle and indirect communication that reveals important information about the patient's experience with their illness that will help the physician provide better care.

esearchers at Tufts University School of Medicine and Boston College asked 33 family medicine resident to write "open-ended reflections" over the course of one year examining their interactions with patients.

The project, which used a qualitative research design, resulted in 756 private reflections that the research team iteratively organized into three principal communication themes:

(1) recognizing the interdependence of physician-patient communication

(2) attention to the subtleties of patient behavior; and

(3) images of growth and awareness about physician-patient communication.

"When new physicians notice and make sense of what they may have missed in a patient interaction, they may be prompted to move forward in a different way, instead of unconsciously allowing that behavior to become the norm in future patient interactions," - Allen Shaughnessy

"Current research suggests that the development of professional awareness among physicians is crucial to developing the skill to respond empathetically to patients. Recognizing the subtleties of communication requires more than understanding the patient's explicit statements but also requires a recognition of what lies below the surface,"- Ashley Duggan

Category(s):Mental Health Professions

Source material from http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/