doctor, but might they be satisfied with one who is
simply well-behaved? ...A doctor who has trouble feeling
compassion for or even recognizing a patient's suffering
can nevertheless behave in certain specified ways that
will result in the patient's feeling well treated..
---Michael Kahn, MD
Dr. Kahn calls for a good manners curriculum in medical education in the latest edition of the New England Journal of Medicine.(1) He provides an example of a behavioral checklist that clinicians should follow to promote civility and respect in our patient encounters, including:
- Introduce yourself.
- Shake hands.
- Sit down.
- Smile if appropriate.
I agree with Dr. Kahn. If you can't teach all medical students compassion, pass along a few basic rules of etiquette, and train them to shake hands and sit a spell.
(1)Kahn, MK. Etiquette-Based Medicine. NEJM. Volume 358:1988-1989.