Journal of General Internal Medicine

, Volume 20, Issue 1, pp 58–61 | Cite as

Bedside interactions from the other side of the bedrail

  • Kathlyn E. FletcherEmail author
  • David S. Rankey
  • David T. Stern
Original Article


OBJECTIVE: To assess the importance to patients of various aspects of bedside interactions with physician teams.

DESIGN: Cross-sectional survey.

SETTING: VA hospital.

PATIENTS: Ninety-seven medical inpatients.

INTERVENTION: Survey of 44 questions including short answer, multiple choice, and Likert-type questions.

MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: Data analysis included descriptive statistics. The sample was predominantly male, with a mean age of 62. Overall satisfaction with the hospital experience and with the team of doctors were both high (95% and 96% reported being very or mostly satisfied, respectively). Patients reported learning about several issues during their interactions with the teams; the 3 most highly rated areas were new problems, tests that will be done, and treatments that will be done. Most patients (76%) felt that their teams cared about them very much. Patients were made comfortable when the team showed that they cared, listened, and appeared relaxed (reported by 63%, 57%, and 54%, respectively). Patients were made uncomfortable by the team using language they did not understand (22%) and when several people examined them at once (13%). Many (58%) patients felt personally involved in teaching. The majority of patients liked having medical students and residents involved in their care (69% and 64%, respectively).

CONCLUSION: Patients have much to teach about what is important about interacting with physician teams. Although patients’ reactions to team interactions are generally positive, patients are different with respect to what makes them comfortable and uncomfortable. Taking their preferences into account could improve the experience of being in a teaching hospital.

Key Words

patient-physician relationship bedside interactions survey methods 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Nair BR, Coughlan JL, Hensley MJ. Student and patient perspectives on bedside teaching. Med Educ. 1997;31:341–6.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Committee on Quality Health Care in America, Institute of Medicine. Crossing the Quality Chasm: A New Health System for the 21st Century. Washington, DC: National Academies Press; 2000.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Linfors EW, Neelon FA. Sounding boards. The case of bedside rounds. N Engl J Med. 1980;303:1230–3.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Lehmann LS, Brancati FL, Chen M, Roter D, Bods AS. The effect of bedside case presentations on patients’ perceptions of their medical care. N Engl J Med. 1997;336:1150–5.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Simons RJ, Baily RG, Zelis R, Zwillich CW. The physiologic and psychological effects of the bedside presentation. N Engl J Med. 1989;321:1273–5.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Fletcher KE, Furney SL, Stern DT. Patients speak: what’s really important about bedside interactions with physician teams. J Gen Intern Med. 2003;18(suppl 1):232. Abstract.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Glaser BG, Strauss AL. The Discovery of Grounded Theory: Strategies for Qualitative Research. Chicago, IL: Aldine Publishing Company; 1967;101–15.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Matthews DA, Feinstein AR. A new instrument for patients’ ratings of physician performance in the hospital setting. J Gen Intern Med. 1989;4:14–22.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Rodgers HD, Carline JD, Paauw DS. Examination room presentations in general internal medicine clinic: patients’ and students’ perceptions. Acad Med. 2003;78:945–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Wang-Cheng RM, Barnas GP, Sigmann P, Riendl PA, Young MJ. Bedside case presentations: why patients like them but learners don’t. J Gen Intern Med. 1989;4:284–7.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Anderson LA, Dedrick RF. Development of the Trust in Physician scale: a measure to assess interpersonal trust in patient-physician relationships. Psychol Rep. 1990;67:1091–100.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    LaCombe MA. On bedside teaching. Ann Intern Med. 1997;126:217–20.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Ramani S, Orlander JD, Strunin L, Barber TW. Whither clinical teaching? A focus-group study of clinical teachers. Acad Med. 2003;78:384–90.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Society of General Internal Medicine 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kathlyn E. Fletcher
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • David S. Rankey
    • 3
  • David T. Stern
    • 4
  1. 1.Clement J. Zablocki VAMCMilwaukeeUSA
  2. 2.Division of General Internal MedicineMedical College of WisconsinMilwaukeeUSA
  3. 3.University of Cincinnati School of MedicineCincinnatiUSA
  4. 4.Departments of Medicine and Medical EducationUniversity of Michigan Medical School and VA Ann Arbor Healthcare SystemAnn ArborUSA

Personalised recommendations