Americans don’t always trust their doctors, and here’s the proof: a 2012 survey found that just
In the case of medicine, it’s a disservice not to offer courses that focus on empathy, communication and relationships, according to Emiliana Simon-Thomas, science director at the Greater Good Science Center.
“Imagine telling someone they were going to compete in the Olympics as a runner, but rely on life experience to prepare them,” Simon-Thomas says. “Here we are putting [new doctors] in a position where they are confronted with pain and suffering all day. To not prepare them for that is unfair.”
Educators in the medical field agree, and more and more medical schools have started to incorporate the doctor-patient relationship into the curriculum.
Emory University Medical Center, Duke University Medical Center and Stony Brook University School of Medicine offer training in “medical humanism.”
Oncotalk, a course required of Duke’s oncology fellows, and Empathetics, a series of online courses for physicians, are part of a larger effort to teach doctors clinical empathy and improve the relationship between patients and their doctors.