Communication skills training for doctors


“Susanwaad Abhiyaan” for a good Doctor-Patient Relationship



A good doctor-patient relationship is the focus of a quality healthcare service. A doctor needs to have good medical knowledge and skills, but at the same time be a good human being so that the patient can have trust in the treatment offered. The current medical education has heavily focused on giving good medical knowledge. Some importance has been given to learning practical skills, but very little has been done to develop the attitude and communication.


Over the years, the medical students lost their focus on providing holistic healthcare. As undergraduate students, interns and as junior resident doctors, they have been very busy and the stressful lifestyle was not conducive to developing sensitivity towards their patients. Excessive workload, lack of adequate rest, improper eating habits and lack of time due to patient workload made it impossible to learn communication skills without any formal training. The communication skills are not currently in the syllabus and hence there is no desperate need for the trainee doctors to acquire these skills. Some doctors face language barrier making their job much more difficult.


Most patients coming to the government setup are not very demanding and may accept the minimal communication as long as they get their required treatment, but the scenario is very different in the private setup. In recent times, the access to information has become very easy. The patients come to a doctor with a lot of knowledge. They are able to verify the treatment process undertaken by the doctors and are prepared to question the doctor. If there is a lack of proper communication, the trust is missing and this leads to a lot of misunderstanding. These situations have got out of hand and even violence took place against some doctors. The actual physical attacks is just the tip of the iceberg. The real problem is the growing unhappiness and mistrust amongst the patients against the doctors and the healthcare services. Even if violent attacks stop, litigation will continue to rise. The aim should be to develop trust and respect and avoid violence and litigation. Patients want doctors who treat them using their medical knowledge and skills as well as communicate with them effectively.


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