Sunday, March 06, 2005

"Quick, nurse, what's my motivation?"

From the front page of the Seattle Times . . . how even pretending to care about your patients leads to better outcomes. And there are classes to teach you how! My oh my . . .

"Deep acting — also known as method acting — involves summoning memories and using imagination to generate and display emotions.

"Even when a doctor doesn't have the time or desire to dig deep, she should still use surface acting — as in, simply feigning empathy. "

See the full article here.


C. Dale said...

I think this is true. In Oncology, we are the supreme actors in medicine, because we many times know people are going to die soon, but we don't like to paint a doom and gloom picture. We are honest, but many of us still try to give people hope. I often joke I am not a doctor but I play one on TV. Well, it is kind of true!

Emily Lloyd said...

Funny--I read this post on the tail of one at Tinfoil & Raccoon, which included what I thought was a great sentence about an EMT's bedside manner: "I was inexplicably impressed when he used the word 'puke.'" Unvarnished language as evidence of care.


Peter said...

Hi EM and CD:
I've been practicing in the same community clinic for about 15 years, and really enjoy the vast majority of my patients; each day at work is like chit-chatting with old friends and family. But occassionally, if I am tired, or just don't connnect with someone, I know I am guilty of "phoning it in" in terms of the genuine empathy. I'll try to think of "Dr Brando" next time. :)

Anne said...

From the pov of the patient, this rings very true. I know that one time when I had a surgeon (at the Mayo Clinic, of all places) who asked me how I was feeling and actually waited to hear the answer and seemed to care what the answer was, instead of telling me how I "should" be feeling, I gave him (after the initial shock of being listened to!) a lot more detail about how I actually was, and felt a lot more comfortable about asking questions. Who knows whether he was acting or not, but it worked.