CPE-11 – the art and science of medicine and communication

I had a run-in with a resident-doctor last Friday. The doctor and the patient were speaking past each other, and at times the resident was speaking in a condescending and demeaning way to the patient. I called him on it. He didn’t like it. He got his Attending and accused me of a variety of things. We worked it all out (at least I hope it is all worked out!).
This whole affair brought to mind the idea of the Art of Medicine and the Science of Medicine, and those who function within each domain of medicine and how they communicate to patients. The resident-doctor spoke well within the Science of Medicine – very technical, very specific, very dry with little or no emotion (accept when we was condescending, that is). The patient couldn’t hear that, because the patient was in the Art of Medicine domain – feeling, sensing, etc. The resident, wanting to effectively communicate to the patient, needed to recognize this, but he did not. He needed to communicate within the Art of Medicine for the patient to truly understand what he was saying. Likewise, he needed to listen within the Art of Medicine so that he could hear what the patient was actually telling him. It is the doctorç—´ responsibility to bear the burden of understanding the best way to get his or her point across, and then doing so.
Anyway, the Art and Science of Medicine. To be effective, doctors need to be able to discern within which domain they need to faction to effectively communicate to patients. Just like we do, too, as chaplains!

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