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Ann Intern Med. 1982 Jun;96(6 Pt 1):762-5.

The resident leaves the patient: another look at the doctor-patient relationship.


The clinics of primary care training programs face the annual problem of residents leaving their patients. The responses of the resident physician and the patient can be understood in terms of the grieving process. Feelings of anger, guilt, anxiety, and fear may complicate this phase of the resident-patient relationship and threaten continuity of care. Maladaptive behaviors may result if negative responses to separation go unacknowledged. An appreciation of the range of both patient and resident responses will aid in establishing rational guidelines for ending relations and transferring patient care.

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