Do doctors need to attend lessons on communication skills?

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Bhubaneswar: The experience of two ladies, who had visited two famed hospitals in the Capital city on Saturday, raised an inevitable question, “Do doctors need to attend lessons on communication skills?”

The two ladies identified as Sandhya and Kalpana had shared their experiences with Odishatv.in reporter. While Sandhya had visited Sum Hospital, Kalpana had paid a visit to Kalinga Institute of Medical Sciences (KIMS).

In the case of Sandhya, she was suffering from a mild headache since last few days. As she visited the hospital in the afternoon, the Out Patient Department (OPD) was closed and she was referred to the Emergency Department.

After completing the registration, Sandhya was guided to the doctor’s chamber. She had expected a proper consultation, but the doctor was impatient, who just scribbled some common headache drugs and asked her to come later.

This treatment was something unexpected by Sandhya and her family. She was grieved to know that a doctor of such a hospital does not have time to properly attend a patient. She opined that the doctor could have had a proper conversation with her about the problems and prescribed medication after adequate checkup.

“If the doctor was in a hurry, she should not have attended me at the first place. She should not have prescribed the medicines before asking me to come on a later date. I could have got the medicines just by going to a medical store and asking to give me something for headache, what was the need of visiting the hospital,” she added.

The experience of Kalpana, who had visited for her thyroid problems, was rather pleasing. She said, “The doctor was courteous and was patient in hearing my problems. He after proper checkup told us that we will get the reports in few days.”

Only after proper consultation, she added, “The doctor told that further treatment of my disease will be done on the basis of the findings in the reports.”

It may be mentioned here that, a patient, directly or indirectly, wants a doctor, other than being an expert in his or her field, to be a good communicator. A patient is more eager to follow the instructions of a doctor if they are communicated properly, to the patient’s satisfaction.

Paying attention to the problems of the patient, having patience to understand the ailment, whether it is physical or psychological, and empathizing with the patient is what someone expects from the doctors.

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