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Br J Gen Pract. 2010 Feb;60(571):83-7. doi: 10.3399/bjgp10X483111.

Patients' perceptions of GP non-verbal communication: a qualitative study.

Author information

1
Medical University of Bialystok, Department of Family Medicine and Community Nursing, Poland. ludmila.marcinowicz@umwb.edu.pl

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

During doctor-patient interactions, many messages are transmitted without words, through non-verbal communication.

AIM:

To elucidate the types of non-verbal behaviours perceived by patients interacting with family GPs and to determine which cues are perceived most frequently.

DESIGN OF STUDY:

In-depth interviews with patients of family GPs.

SETTING:

Nine family practices in different regions of Poland.

METHOD:

At each practice site, interviews were performed with four patients who were scheduled consecutively to see their family doctor.

RESULTS:

Twenty-four of 36 studied patients spontaneously perceived non-verbal behaviours of the family GP during patient-doctor encounters. They reported a total of 48 non-verbal cues. The most frequent features were tone of voice, eye contact, and facial expressions. Less frequent were examination room characteristics, touch, interpersonal distance, GP clothing, gestures, and posture.

CONCLUSION:

Non-verbal communication is an important factor by which patients spontaneously describe and evaluate their interactions with a GP. Family GPs should be trained to better understand and monitor their own non-verbal behaviours towards patients.

PMID:
20132701
PMCID:
PMC2814260
DOI:
10.3399/bjgp10X483111
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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