What is a good bedside manner? How do you tell patients that they have a terminal illness? What do you do after you have told them? How do you deal with a family after the patient dies? How do you foster good relationships with patients, nurses, and other physicians? How do you avoid burnout?
Your answers to these and similar questions will prove crucial to your medical career. Yet, during my seven years of medical school and residency, these issues were never mentioned—much less dealt with.
Some programs are now making efforts to teach the human side of medicine, but medical training today is not much different from mine. I intended Medicine with a Human Touch to be a guide for medical students and residents in dealing with these and similar non-technical problems. Yet numerous practicing physicians who reviewed it remarked that we would all do well to reexamine periodically how we are behaving in our everyday practices. In addition, many non-medical people who have read it say it would be helpful to the general public to help understand how physicians function and what they can reasonably expect from their physician.
-Dr. Richard Dew
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