When Strangers MEET: Making Every Encounter Therapeutic
One of the essential qualities of the clinician is interest in humanity, for the secret of the care of the patient is in caring for the patient.—F.W. Peabody 
A challenge faced by medical educators is how best to prepare future physicians to communicate effectively across the diverse settings and situations in which patient-physician interactions occur. The conceptualization of communication as a set of skills or tasks allows for standardization to ensure a basic level of competence. With more complex clinical encounters (e.g., communicating uncertainty, exploring sensitive issues such as trauma, managing patients who are distressed), an appreciation of context and flexibility may facilitate effective communication [2, 3]. Questions may thus need to be tailored or the clinician may need to respond to an interaction that did not go as planned. Moreover, obtaining a patient’s history of present illness through systematic questioning is also often seen as a means to an end to make a...
This work was supported in part by the Medical Psychiatry Alliance, a collaborative health partnership of the University of Toronto, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, the Hospital for Sick Children, Trillium Health Partners, the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and an anonymous donor.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
There are no declarations of interest to report for any of the authors.
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