Courteous Bedside Manners Are Associated With Improved Patient Recovery And Satisfaction

An article in Becker’s Hospital Review reported that hospital interns generally failed to use “five key communications strategies, including introducing themselves, explaining their role in the patient’s care, touching the patient, asking open-ended questions such as ‘How are you feeling today?’ and sitting down with the patient. The five actions are components of what is termed ‘etiquette-based medicine,’ as described in a 2008 New England Journal of Medicine article by Michael W. Kahn, MD.”

“With internal medicine in particular, especially these days, it’s about chronic medical problems and chronic care, where much of what we need to do is motivate the patient to provide self-care and self-management to improve their health over the long term … You can’t do that if you’re not connecting with the patient very well.”

One physician is quoted: Dr. Feldman blames attending physicians for failing to be better role models in extending common courtesies to patients. “When I’m the attending physician I walk rounds with the whole team, introduce myself and put out my hand to shake the patient’s hand, and then make the intern who is going to present the case sit down with the patient in a chair next to the bed. I’m showing them how I think it should be done. And you know they go, ‘That’s how Dr. Feldman does it, so I should be doing it that way.’”

Click here to read the full BHR article “Doctors, First Heal Thine Manners” by Chuck Lauer.


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Jonathan M. Metsch, Dr.P.H., is Clinical Professor, Preventive Medicine, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai; and Adjunct Professor, Baruch College ( C.U.N.Y.), Rutgers School of Public Health, and Rutgers School of Public Affairs and Administration.

This blog shares general information about understanding and navigating the health care system. For specific medical advice about your own problems, issues and options talk to your personal physician.

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