Body and Soul
Body and Soul
This chapter discusses the role of communication-skills training for the development of physicians. Beyond knowledge-based capabilities, the ability to be present with patients and their families as well as compassion, empathy, integrity, and respect, are emotional and spiritual skills that are necessary for physicians to reach their full healing potential. Teaching medical students, interns, residents, and fully trained physicians to pay attention to the details of their interactions with patients can help them improve their quality. Communication-skills training also leads to greater patient involvement during clinical visits and in their overall care. Effective communication-skills teaching may involve lectures about the use of body language, or the use of computer-based teaching modules that focus on improving communication skills and empathy. Experiential simulation workshops, which typically involve role-playing by facilitators and participants, or the use of standardized patients, are also an excellent way of improving physician communication and relational skills.
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