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Am J Med. 2001 Dec 21;111(9B):31S-35S.

Rapport and the hospitalist.

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  • 1Internal Medicine Hospitalist Program, University of New Mexico School of Medicine, Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA.


One key issue in the hospitalist movement is the need for hospitalists to establish rapport and maintain relationships with their patients. Rapport is critical in obtaining a thorough history, and then effectively negotiating the diagnosis and treatment plan with patient and family. This article summarizes both the challenges to establishing rapport and the opportunities unique to hospital-based practice. It presents a basic framework for communication skills using the mnemonic PEARLS (partnership, empathy, apology, respect, legitimation, self-efficacy), and a detailed discussion of techniques for use in difficult relationships. The importance of the physical setting and of nonverbal skills cannot be underestimated. Rapport-building techniques can be learned but require practice.

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