THE PATIENT-PHYSICIAN RELATIONSHIP A Study of Patient Clues and Physician Responses in Primary Care and Surgical Settings

Abstract

PHYSICIAN: MORE OFTEN THAN not, I will keep patients in after a pacemaker is placed, at least overnight, in order to make certain that the pacemaker is functioning properly. Patient: Dr Smith told me it’d be 2 days. Physician: Frequently it is 2 days, but as I say, at least overnight. Patient: I’m alone. Physician: And the routine goes like this. We get you to the OR and then we. . . . In the above dialogue the patient expresses her anxiety about being alone during her recovery, while the physician remains focused on the logistics of the operative procedure and does not take the opportunity to understand the patient’s concerns or to express empathy. In routine visits like this one, patient clues offer opportunities for understanding patients’ lives and emotions. We define a clue as a direct or indirect comment that provides information about any aspect of a patient’s life circumstances or feelings. These clues offer a glimpse into the inner world of patients and create an opportunity for empathy and personal connection. By exploring the meaning of these clues for patients, physicians can deepen the therapeutic relationship and potentially enhance clinical outcomes. Patients view medical experiences as intertwined with the issues of their everyday lives. Not surprisingly then, patients expect physicians to go beyond merely attending to their biomedical needs. In fact, many patients view their physicians as individuals whom they can trust with their most intimate information—including the stresses of their daily lives and their personal worries. How-

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Cite this paper

@inproceedings{Levinson2000THEPR, title={THE PATIENT-PHYSICIAN RELATIONSHIP A Study of Patient Clues and Physician Responses in Primary Care and Surgical Settings}, author={Wendy S Levinson}, year={2000} }