An Approach to Teaching Doctors Social Skills
Doctors are regularly involved in interactions with patients which require that the doctor understands the patient and makes himself understood to the patient. Consequently it would obviously be beneficial if doctors were skilled in social interaction. However, there does exist evidence which suggests that this is an area where considerable improvement could be made. Ley & Spelman (1964) report that dissatisfaction with doctor-patient communications is the most frequent complaint that patients have of their treatment. Also Ley (1977) has detailed the problem of patients failing to comply with their doctors’ instructions. This seems to be due partly to patients not understanding instructions, partly to forgetting by patients and partly to patients not being persuaded as to the need or importance of the treatment prescribed.
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