Doctors in Residency Fail Tests of Common Courtesy

Cheryl Clark, October 24, 2013

One project that has been tried at Johns Hopkins Hospital's pediatric department is called "face sheets." Patients and their families are given a page with photos of every physician on the patient's care team with their titles, and a description of their role in that patient's care. "You hand that out when you meet the patient for the first time as if to say, 'Here I am on this piece of paper, and you can look at the back and see what I do."

Feldman says that something so simple as placement of a chair by the bed that the intern can sit on to be at eye-level with the patient can help enormously.

That's done so infrequently now that when Feldman finds a chair and sits with a patient, they often ask if something's wrong, "Am I going to die?"

"They shouldn't think something terrible is going on because someone is taking the time to just sit with the patient," he says. "That's some of the culture we need to change. Patients should expect us to sit with them.

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