Most doctors and nurses by now know the importance of trauma informed care, patient centered care, family centered care, bedside manner, or any of the other various terms used to describe caring for not only the physical but also the psychosocial concerns of the patient and family. Specifically, empathy has been found to be the base of patient-doctor relationship, improve patient satisfaction, health outcomes among many other benefits.
With more emphasis placed on patient satisfaction, learning how to be emphatic with patients is becoming an invaluable skill. Even though empathy can be learned, some doctors may fear it will take more time. According to Helen Riess, director of the empathy and relational science program at Massachusetts General Hospital, empathy "has proved to be a time-saver rather than a time sink. It can help doctors zero in on the real source of a patient’s concern, short-circuiting repeated visits or those “doorknob moments” doctors dread, when the patient says “Oh, by the way ...” and raises the primary concern as the doctor is headed out of the room."
Other doctors may not know how to answer the more emotional concerns. As James A. Tulsky, one of the developers of “Oncotalk" says, “Doctors are explainaholics. Our answer to distress is more information, that if a patient just understood it better, they would come around.” In reality, bombarding a patient with information does little to alleviate the underlying worry."
How do doctors learn empathy? There are many course that exists now, including courses in trauma informed care. The DEF courses provide doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals not only the knowledge of why trauma informed care is important for patients and families, but also a guide to exactly how to implement trauma informed care into practice.
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