A recent study published in the December 20 edition of the Journal of Clinical Oncology recommends that oncologists seek specialized training to help them hone their empathy skills. According to the lead investigators, physicians who rephrase their statements in way that leads the patient into an open line of communication can help significantly decrease levels of patient anxiety and depression and increase patient compliance and satisfaction.
While the idea of motivational interviewing in medicine is nothing new, this is the first time that it has been studied in the often emotionally-charged world of cancer treatment.
Having seen at least four teams’ worth of physicians come through my husband’s hospital room in the last few weeks, I can think of a few doctors who could really benefit from that kind of training. Have you ever had a patient-doctor interaction that has left you wishing that they stressed bedside manner more in medical school? Tell us about it in the comments!