The story was inspired by a research project (and subsequent article) by researchers at Johns Hopkins. They followed two groups of medical interns around and recorded what percent of the time the interns performed five basic ‘etiquette-based communication’ skills:
- Introducing themselves.
- Explaining their role in the patient’s care.
- Touching the patient (whether in greeting, as a gesture of comfort, or as part of a physical exam).
- Asking open-ended questions such as, “How are you feeling today?” and
- Sitting down with the patient.
Interns in the study were pretty good at asking open-ended questions, doing it three out of four times. But they only introduced themselves 40% of the time (gotta wonder about that–did they assume they were familiar to their patients?) and only sat down at the patient’s bedside 9% of the time.
The researchers, led by Dr. Lenny Feldman, encourage doctors and other health professionals to slow down and sit when talking to hospitalized patients. It can make a world of difference to the patient.
In their Facebook post, embedded below, NPR asks, “What kind of bedside manner do you want from your doctor?”
The answers are great. Check them out and add yours.