Learning soft skills
A US based centre aims to teach students how to improve consultation and communication skills
A good patient experience can encompass a whole range of factors: timely appointments, swift diagnosis, effective treatments, clean and comfortable environment—the checklist of tangible items goes on. But where does the softer stuff on the list come into this—a good bedside manner; listening; involving patients in decisions about their care; taking patient concerns seriously? Should these be as important as hard clinical skills? How can these be measured? And can they be taught?
A new institute in Chicago believes that these skills are vital to improve patient outcomes. Not only can good communication help patients feel psychologically better—confident in their care, able to ask questions, and be fully informed of their treatment—but there is also emerging evidence that it can affect better outcomes.
Matthew Sorrentino, professor of medicine at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, is involved in establishing the centre, the Bucksbaum Institute for Clinical Excellence, which