Medical tourism being one of the unique selling propositions of Gujarat, the focus of hospitals has always been on excellence in medical treatment and state-of-the-art healthcare facilities. Arguably though, not much thought is given to hospitality delivering care with grace and concern for the well-being of patients in despair. That is a major reason for frequent scuffles between doctors and patients or their relatives that often lead to the doctors going on a strike, disrupting medical services.
1,900 Doctors to take up course:
However, all this is set to change with B. J. Medical College taking a lead to make hospitality an integral part of hospital culture. From the new academic year, the college will introduce a compulsory module Communication and Social Skill Development for 1,900 undergraduate and postgraduate students. The college believes good communication skills are important not only to doctor-patient interaction but also to interaction within the staff. Besides, effective communication may also increase patients understanding of treatment, improve compliance and, in some cases, lead to improved health.
Experts to train professors:
Dr. Bharat Shah, dean of the college, said “the need for such a module has been long pending. Before the next academic session begins, we will have a team comprising a sociologist, a communication expert and a Psychologist train our professors for the compulsory module”.
We shall then choose the professors to impart training to students and resident doctors. He added, for a patient, both medical and psychological intervention is important for speedy recovery. These future doctors, apart from being good professionals, should also remain human in their approach towards a patient. They should learn that the communication approaches towards a diverse group of patients will be different, Shah added.
The course will also sensitise doctors and hospital staff towards the mental condition and emotional needs of the patient and his/her family. The module will incorporate newer sub-topics as student’s progress from first to the final year. It will teach them to maintain decorum while dealing with patients, communicate bad news effectively and manage difficult situations.
Etiquette, body language and dress code are also part of the module, said Dr. Rajnish Patel of the surgery department. He is also the in-charge of course implementation project. Dr. Nimrat Singh, clinical psychologist and human behaviour scientist, said, Usually for a doctor, illness and death are routine affair. For a patient though, it is a crisis situation. Hence, the doctors should be sensitive and empathetic enough to communicate the news to his/her family members depending on their emotional and cognitive abilities. That goes a long way in curbing their anxiety and stress.
Dealing with angry patients:
The students, too, believe that this module will add value to their service and reduce the tension on duty. In patient-doctor interaction, it is the doctor who is required to be more understanding. I believe good communication also improves patient health, making it a gratifying experience for us. The course is absolutely necessary, said Piyush Darji, 23, a final year MBBS student.
Prakash Chauhan, 25, a resident doctor, said, This course will help us deal better with angry, difficult and reluctant patients. It will also teach us to maintain a professional working relationship with our colleagues. In the past two years, Civil Hospital has seen two major strikes because of scuffles arising out of communication problems between patients and doctors. More recently, on Monday, 16th April, 2012, doctors of Jamnagars G. G. Hospital announced a two-day strike after a patient beat up a doctor with his chappals.
There have been few incidents in recent time, which indicate the importance of such communication modules in hospitals. In March this year, the resident doctors of Civil Hospital went on a strike after their colleague was allegedly beaten up by relatives of a patient who died during treatment. Last November, a pregnant woman died in the V S Hospital because her ventilator was removed allegedly because her family could not pay up. Later, her husband committed suicide, leaving behind a note alleging that the hospital was ruthless.
Courtesy: Times of India