Training doctors to listen to patients

I did an interesting thing today: a nearby teaching hospital runs a scheme where they send 1st year medical students to talk to patients about their experiences. Two sweet twenty-something girls came to my house, and asked various questions about my diagnosis and self-care etc, and listened to me as I told the whole sorry saga. They were as shocked as I am. It felt good to help educate the next generation of doctors to respect patients and listen!

Has anyone else participated in anything like this?

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  • No, my very caring surgery takes students and I think they must get a very good grounding. What you have experienced sounds an amazing system. It can only help make better doctors can't it, good to feel you've been a part of it too and good to as you say 'tell the whole sorry tale'. Let's just hope they remember you in yeas to come when they are qualified and out in the world.

  • We have trainees at our surgery as well and they are all very good and we have them for six months on their own and they learn a lot. My dr is one of those and she stayed,but sadly she is leaving as she and her hubby(newly qualified) are moving up north. i am sad about her leaving as she is a lovely lady and dr and i am going to miss her very much as she is honest and treats me like a human being. she asks me whats wrong,asks me what she would like her to do about it and she is honest when she says she can only listen and manage my diseases. she has reccomended three other drs to use and i have seen them all over time. i find the older drs that have been there a long time and they are not so interested in managing my diseases. one dr even didn't believe me when i said a op i had wasn't right and i had to see another dr to get a second opinion before the surgeon had to re do the op. even when i told him afterwards that it had to be done again he was dismissive of me and i haven't see him since. \\which was sad as he was a good dr.xxxxx

  • Yes, it was very heartening to see pennies dropping and feel like they were really understanding some important things about my experience - and many other people's - like how long it can take to get diagnosed, how bad some doctors are at listening and why that matters, how 'pushy' you sometimes have to be, how important peer support on forums like this is...

  • No, not that I know of but will enquire. I think it should be rolled out to the whole of the teaching hospitals within the NHS, how good, as long as what they glean is used toward better understanding of patients! Picked the wrong one with you though didn't they..... or maybe not on second thoughts! I'd happily proffer my experience, our local big hospital is a teaching hospital. That said today my h had an extraordinary appointment with his heart Surgeon, requested by his Psychologist. This time he was more animated & concerned than at any other appointment or on his rounds & is ordering a CT scan to rule out a few things. His real concern made quite a difference, we'd had him as efficient but somewhat detached, not so this time. Makes one wonder if our hospital is running a similar scheme?

  • I'm glad your H's heart surgeon is on the ball. That emotional involvement is really rather important, isn't it? My GP this morning (when I went to ask for the referral for a 2nd opinion) was genuinely empathetic, listened, sympathised, asked about my mental well-being and how I was managing with work, agreed I was reasonable to ask for another opinion under the circumstances and said I "deserved the best possible care", gave me much longer than my allotted 10 mins in the end... He's such a contrast to the rheumy!

    And yes, I agree it's something that should be part of all medical training. On this course, all the students visit someone, and then they have a seminar where they share their insights. 'My' students said they'd be sharing some of what I'd told them about how difficult is has been to get diagnosed, and how bad some of the medical care has been, so maybe more than just the two who visited me will learn something from my experience... I can hope!

  • Yes it is important, particularly when the emotional side is apparent in a patient anyway & has a confirmed fear, It is proving a problem in his case, fear of yet another pretty major op & the blood troubles that have followed the previous two but generally it shouldn't be ignored I agree. This time more information was shared, I guess he now understands why he'd been questioned at the previous meet, my h needed to understand to form part of his coping mechanism.

    I'm pleased you have a GP who is aware, mine is too, but I had one once who was an "oh poor you" type, I soon changed doctors! It is having that happy medium, professional & understanding but not simpering.

    I haven't been able to find any evidence that a similar medical student training is rolled out at my hospital but I will continue to look & ask questions of friends who are employed there. I'll also mention it to my GP, it may be something she'd wish to discuss with her partners.

  • Wow! What a brilliant idea. 😀

  • Yes, isn't it?! :)

  • No i haven't,but i wish i could as they would learn some bedside manners.xxxxx

  • Listening to sick people is very important, this is normal in developing countries. MBBS is a 5-6 year course, when a GP practice get students they should be in the reception talking to people for few weeks and then in the consulting room. I am not sure if any GP practice has time to develop this? After qualification new GPs do get training in surgery. What they need is video equipment during the training periods to play back to learn as they do in X-factor and BBC dancing programe, this is discussed in clips.

  • No, nothing like that in Oz. Sounds like a winner. Thanks for sharing.

    Luisa 🌸

  • Well I have to say that where I live in Northumberland I have been with the same practice for over 50 years, and have no complaints. Looking at it from their side after watching the Television programme which showed doctors at work in their practices, I am beginning to wonder how they don't open a bottle of wine as soon as they get home. Or maybe they do? if any one saw the recent programme where a lady entered the doctors examination room carrying a drink of sorts and proceeded to drink it while discussing her problems? what a nerve. Such a lack of respect, a bit like the Worzel Gummidge character sorry I mean Mr Corbyn you would think he could at least comb his hair. Apologies Rant Over.

  • Messy hair? I think you may be confusing Jeremy Corbyn with Boris Johnson.

  • I was spoken to by med students some years ago while in hospital. This is going back several years when I was in Wolverhampton at New Cross Hospital. 1st time by a young guy who was very nice. I was in having my 1st infiximab infusion and another time a just over a year later by 3 girls who were also very nice. They asked me all sorts about my RA and how it affected me on a day to day basis and the care I was getting and how I managed. Never saw them doing anything like that again so don't know if they carried it on because after a while I changed to Humira so didn't need to go in for infusions anymore. They used to come round the day ward where me and a few others were having infusions. They were students going into Rheumatology.

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