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By Sara del Nido, Clinical Fellow, Harvard Negotiation and Mediation Clinical Program

As the daughter of a surgeon, I grew up hearing about life in the halls of a hospital. My father worked long hours, but never tired of recounting the day’s (usually hectic) events to me and my siblings. On many occasions, his stories would end with the same conclusion: the most important trait of a great doctor isn’t technical savvy, nor even scientific expertise – rather, it is the doctor’s people skills that make all the difference.

Having internalized and carried my father’s lesson for well over 20 years, it was with particular interest that I read a recent New York Times article about “inattentive care” – that is, the set of inconveniences and hardships, large and small, that patients experience in the course of medical treatment. In describing inattentive care, the article gave the particularly resonant example of poor communication between doctors and patients, from routine interactions to tough conversations about bad news or outcomes. Scrolling through the comments on the article (the online version generated over 860), one in particular stood out to me: “If doctors have trouble speaking with their clients, they are even worse at consulting with each other!” Other comments alluded to the same overall problem: a lack of communication between all members of the medical support team, and the impact of that lack of communication on patient care.

Continue reading the full story here.

Filed in: Clinical Spotlight, Clinical Voices

Tags: Harvard Negotiation & Mediation Clinical Program, Sara del Nido

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