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J Hosp Med. 2013 Nov;8(11):631-4. doi: 10.1002/jhm.2092. Epub 2013 Oct 12.

Do internal medicine interns practice etiquette-based communication? A critical look at the inpatient encounter.

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1
Department of Medicine, Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine, Hempstead, New York.

Abstract

Etiquette-based communication may improve the inpatient experience but is not universally practiced. We sought to determine the extent to which internal medicine interns practice behaviors that characterize etiquette-based medicine. Trained observers evaluated the use of 5 key communication strategies by internal medicine interns during inpatient clinical encounters: introducing one's self, explaining one's role in the patient's care, touching the patient, asking open-ended questions, and sitting down with the patient. Participants at 1 site then completed a survey estimating how frequently they performed each of the observed behaviors. A convenience sample of 29 interns was observed on a total of 732 patient encounters. Overall, interns introduced themselves 40% of the time and explained their role 37% of the time. Interns touched patients on 65% of visits, asked open-ended questions on 75% of visits, and sat down with patients during 9% of visits. Interns at 1 site estimated introducing themselves and their role and sitting with patients significantly more frequently than was observed (80% vs 40%, P < 0.01; 80% vs 37%, P < 0.01; and 58% vs 9%, P < 0.01, respectively). Resident physicians introduced themselves to patients, explained their role, and sat down with patients infrequently during observed inpatient encounters. Residents surveyed tended to overestimate their own practice of etiquette-based medicine.

PMID:
24124094
DOI:
10.1002/jhm.2092
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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