I recently came across two articles in the press concerning doctor-patient relationships and communication. I began to reflect on what makes communication between doctor and patient most successful and many questions surfaced. In the New York Times, a new study published in Annals of Internal Medicine was referenced. In this study, the way in which doctors communicate non-verbally was examined. Non-verbal communication was often discordant to the message being relayed, particularly ...

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When dealing with patients and families coping with life threatening illness, one of a physician’s greatest interventions may be that of empathy.  Defined simply, empathy is the responsiveness to the emotional state of another person—we try to understand another’s experience.  It is a process that requires effort and intention.  Sympathy is an awareness of another person’s situation and is an almost “autonomic” type response.  Sympathy is important and is part ...

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In these days of decreased reimbursement, increased workload, and non user-friendly EMRs, physician burnout rates can be quite high. Stress, depression, and overwhelming fatigue associated with burn-out can interfere with our ability to care for our patients. If we, as providers, are not emotionally healthy, we are not able to provide the very best of ourselves to our patients. When we allow ourselves to become over extended and over committed without ...

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