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Acad Pediatr. 2017 Mar 14. pii: S1876-2859(17)30106-7. doi: 10.1016/j.acap.2017.03.006. [Epub ahead of print]

Best Practices in Relational Skills Training for Medical Trainees and Providers: An Essential Element of Addressing ACEs and Promoting Resilience.

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The Center for Supportive Relationships, San Mateo, CA 94403, USA; Institute for Research in Social Sciences, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA. Electronic address:
Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.


Medical providers' ability to form strong therapeutic alliances with patients is an essential clinical skill that is associated with a higher quality of care and improved provider well being. However, comparatively few medical providers exhibit adequate relational skills, which serve to convey respect, communicate caring, and build trust between the medical provider and the patient. A growing number of medical training programs and continuing medical education programs have begun to incorporate relational skills training, but the results have been highly variable in terms of training methods and impact. To support administrators who are considering the implementation (or improvement) of relational skills training in their organization, we provide a set of best practices for relational skills training, based on a review of the literature and on our experience as clinical educators, and demonstrate the application of these best practices through a case study. We conclude with a discussion of challenges for implementing high-quality relational skills training program, policy-level solutions for these challenges, and recommendations for future research.

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