Volume 1  Number 3  April 2022

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the online magazine of 
The National Library of Patient Rights & Advocacy
Welcome to The April Issue

what you will find inside ...

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by Julianna Strano

Becoming Aware of Our Stress:
Now is a Good Time

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The Monthly Report on the Current Stories in Healthcare

Hosted by Cori Ritchey  
Executive Producer: Rayah Hammad
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Welcome to the April Issue

Welcome to this month's issue of the new online magazine of The Power of the Patient Project: The National Library of Patient Rights and Advocacy. We appreciate all of the positive feedback we received on our two issues, and hope that you enjoy the stories our editorial team of outstanding healthcare journalists have written for this issue. We welcome your comments and suggestions. We hope that you will enjoy the content of this month's magazine and come back every month to see what is new and relevant to today's patient.

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How New Doctors Are Learning to Have a Compassionate Bedside Manner

by Faalik Zahra

For decades, patients were very aware of the bedside manner of their doctors. Many patients would use bedside manner as the criteria of choosing one doctor over another. It was important to patients and expected. Some say, that new physicians have abandoned that approach and critics of medical education believe that today's medical students should be taught the basics of good patient relations as part of their medical education. And so, today, most medical schools are including formal classes where medical students are learning how to be a more compassionate doctor. Along with these courses, professors at schools across the country are emphasizing the importance of proper patient-provider interactions. They are ultimately aiding medical students in acquiring a compassionate bedside manner.

 

According to Merriam-Webster, bedside manner is “the manner that a physician assumes toward patients.” It assists in easing a patient and providing them with comfort. According to Ross University School of Medicine, “developing a great doctor bedside manner is vitally important to foster trust with patients, create rapport, and maintain a positive patient experience.”

How Does a Medical Student Learn Bedside Manner

Bedside manner can be acquired through continuous clinical experience and paying close attention to patient-provider interactions. According to St. George’s University, “medical students can also begin to develop good bedside manner through school simulations using high fidelity human patient manikins or standardized patients.” These programs allow students to further their skills and understand how they can be increasingly helpful without jeopardizing a patient’s experience. The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) further explains, “medical schools have started to offer courses on compassion and caring. Some even use virtual reality to put students in their patients’ shoes.

The Tools of a Good Bedside Manner

Students also learn specific behaviors that convey empathy —

  • to sit beside a patient instead of standing over them

  • to pay attention to one’s tone of voice

  • to avoid medical jargon

  • to talk less and listen

  • to patiently answer every question of the patient

  • to take complaints about support staff and the hospital or office protocols seriously

  • to show true compassion for the challenges and concerns of the patient

 

Students then can better assess how they feel they will be to assuage a patient’s discomfort. They learn various techniques and mannerisms that will aid them in this process. With these new courses and the focus on patient-centered medicine taught and mentored by the medical school professors and the residency supervisors, future doctors will hopefully learn these tools to relate better to their patients, making the provider/patient relationship a good one.

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Faalik Zahra studies neuroscience and journalism at the University of Cincinnati and plans on becoming a physician. She has always had a strong inclination towards writing and sharing stories which have led her to pursue a journalism degree as well as founding an online media portal, Bearcat Voice. As a Senior Contributor, Faalik combines her passion for writing and her interest in medicine to explain medical issues to patients in a way they can clearly understand.

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