, Volume 33, Issue 11, pp 1873-1875
Date: 15 Aug 2007

Creating competent and caring physicians: ensuring patients are our North Star

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Scenario: An ICU team, composed of a critical care physician, two residents (one bleary-eyed and disheveled after being on call last night), a nurse practitioner, pharmacist, respiratory therapist and nutritionist, and an experienced charge nurse and bedside nurse, round on an elderly patient. The large and somewhat awkward team stand at the door to the patient's room as they thoroughly review his history, physical exam and laboratory data, summarize relevant literature, and discuss evidence-based therapies. The plan is state of the art. The patient, though intubated, is awake and alert and holding hands with his wife during the team visit. Both attempt to listen attentively to the ICU team's technically excellent discussion but are unable to comprehend. The ICU team walk away, feeling deservedly proud of their technical acumen, and totally unaware of their communication failure.

The patient and his wife had a different experience. They felt alone, frightened and disconnected from the r ...

This editorial refers to the article available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00134-007-0799-4.