You’re Not as Good as You Think (at Communicating)

By: Valerie DeBenedette
Submitted by: Michael Maury, UC-San Diego

The author of this article, Valeria DeBenedette, puts it simply, “Having a lot of clinical knowledge in rheumatology is good. But a boatload of knowledge may not mean much if you aren’t getting it across to the patient so that he or she understands”. For those of us in Standardized Patient education, we know that clear communication is key to a patient’s adherence and will help boost one’s confidence in their health care. We provide opportunities for future doctors to practice these communication skills, but are our efforts enough? As DeBenedette writes, “Communication skills are taught in medical school, often with standardized patients played by actors”. She goes on to report that Dr. Susmita Pati, M.D., chief medical program advisor at the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University, states “but those [SP encounters] are ideal situations and not real life.” Perhaps we have some questions to ponder. Is there something more we could be doing to help mold future physicians into compassionate, clear communicators as they sharpen their clinical skills?

Read the full article in Rheumatology Network here.

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