The practice of medicine requires medical professionals to communicate and establish relationships with patients, their relatives, and fellow medical colleagues. This guide contains concepts to help you enhance your communication skills and navigate through difficult conversations.
The following topics are addressed in this guide:
Tips on the medical interview, techniques for empathic communication, tools for information gathering, and how to obtain a thorough sexual and substance use history
The definition of shared decision making, with online resources for implementing shared decision making
Tools to improve communication with patients who have communication difficulties (e.g., language barriers, hearing impairment) and low health literacy
Helpful acronyms to structure a discussion with a patient and family member
An overview of the literature on medical error disclosure and coping with making mistakes
A guide to improving communication between family members and caregivers
Tools to improve communication between colleagues and medical teams (e.g., conflict resolution and handoff)
Other topics related to patient communication are covered in the following rotation guides:
- Geriatric Assessment and Transition of Care (Geriatrics)
- Advance Care Planning and Palliative Care (Geriatrics)
- Chronic Pain (Palliative Care — coming soon)
Rotation Prep was developed by a collaborative team of experts, educators, fellows, and residents including Ramya Ramaswami, MBBS, MRCP(UK), MPH (NEJM Fellow); Ole-Petter Hamnvik, MBBCh, BAO, MMSC (NEJM Education Editor); Molly Elmer-DeWitt, MD; Shmuel Margolin, MD and Leigh Simmons, MD. The content was reviewed by Rachel Taliercio, DO.